Danny Fists

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Danny Fists

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Danny Fists
Camp, Walter, 1859-1925
Place of Publication:
New York
Grosset & Dunlap
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Football -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
029654156 ( ALEPH )
29239253 ( OCLC )
C21-00033 ( USFLDC DOI )
c21.33 ( USFLDC Handle )

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READY SEPTEMBER, 1917 EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY .... Scoutinp; with Daniel Boone. Everitt T. Tomlinson .... Half-Back, The .......... Ralph Barbour .... Cruise of the Dazzler, The .. Tack London .... Boy Scot) ts of the Black Eaii;le Patrol, The ................... Leslie W. Quirk ..... Last of the Mohicans, The. James Fenimore Cooper ... 20,000 Lea g ues Under the Sea. Jules Verne ..... A Gunner Aboard the Yankee. Russell Doubleday ..... William> of West Point.Hup;h L. Johnson ..... Ben Hur ....... ,., ........ Lew Wallace : Kidnapped ...... Robert Louis Stevenson


OPJ"J:ct:R O O P T8S NATJO,,,AL 001lXCIL ....._, 1'tM.t..t. 'Till W()()n'U) 11'11..0:rt .,_,. ff0.", ff. To\rr a-., \,_,.,...,.,._, 1..ot.O"!U Tm:ooou: JIOQSl:Yll.T ......_., COUX II. UYINCSTONL ... ......,.._ I>-(. f'fA T I Ol'fAL J18A..DQUARTER8 BOY SCOU T S OF MIEPJCA COM''tlTTBlt ... a.&.-.....,, T O THE PUBLIC: TUE FJll'Tll AVi!NUE DUILDING 200 Jo'U"'l 'll c :-:- .-,::;'." NEW YORK CITY ADDrFIO..,AL !IJK> SU ll.:RB 00V'"'tlfl: EXt:CUTJV.liC D0fll,R D .......... SW. 1,....,.., T_, July 31st, 19130 to the execution of Its purpose to g ive e ducati on a l v alue ana rcoral. worth to the r ecreatiooal activities of the bo y ho o d of America,. the leaders of the Boy Sco u t M ovem ent quickly learned that to ef!ectiveis; carry out its prog r am, the boy must be influenced not only in his out of-door lif e but also in the diversions of his othe r l eisure momen t s It i s a t ou c h t ime s tha t the b o y is captured by the tales of dari n g enterpr ises and adventurous good times. W hat now is needful is not thAt his taste should be thwarted but trained. There should constantl}7 be the boo k s the boy likes best, yet always the books tha t will be best for the boy. As a m atter ot tact, however, the boy's t aste is being vitiated and exploite d b y the great !!less o f cheap juvenile li teraturo, T o help anxiously oono e rned parent9 and e ducators to mee t thia grave peril, the L ibrary Commissio n of t h e Boy Scouts o t Ame r i c a has been organized. EVERY BOY'S LIBRARY s tho result or their lab ors .Al1 the l>ooks chosen h ave been approve d by them. The Commission is composed ot the m e mbers: G eorge F. Bowerman, Librarian Publi c Library o f the District of Columb i a Washington. D. C.; Harris o n W Qrav o r L ibrarian C arnegie Library o f P ittsburgh. P a.; Claude G Le l and.; Bureau o f L ibraries, Board of E ducation, flew Yorl< City; "DO A 0000 TURN DhJLY.


Ja 'till'd 'II, Stevens, -Librarian; Pratt 'Institute Free Library, l!roo11:1711, New York: together wit}l the Editorial Board ot our Movement, William o. llurray, -Georie o: Pratt and Frank .Franklin K. llathiewe. Chief ,Scout Librarian_ as Secretary, ln selecting 'tho books, the Co1111111osion has chosen only such BB .. 'al'e ot interest to beys, the first being either works of fiction or stirring of adventurous experiences. -In l&ter lists, l:>ooll:a of a more serious sort will be included 1t is hoped that as 111N17 M twenty-tive may l;>e added to the Library eaoh year. Thanks are dUll the several publishers who have helped to fiilniaurate this new of our work. -Without their co-operation 1n available to:r popular price'd editions aome of the best books published for llOYs, the prcQlotion of EVERY BOY S LIBRARY woJUd. beeo lie wish, tooo,. to express our heartiest gratitude to the Librai:Y Commission. who. wlttnQ'Ot. cotupensation, have 11laced their vast experieoo& &!ld illlllenee resourceir.ent l:>e e111t1>ble for EVER'l BOY'S LIBRARY. Signed Chief Scout




"Stung by that sco re, the 'V a r sity thereafter played sma s hing ball." !PAGE 991




COPYRIGHT, 1913,BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY Printed in the United States of America




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS "Stung by that score, the 'Varsity thereafter played smashing ball" Frontispiece "This time Broughton did not have to push back PACING PAGE Danny" 32 "Danny found the coach sprawled off in a roomy wicker chair" 142 "Danny, sitting with his blanket about his shoulders, groaned" f}:l 214


DANNY FISTS CHAPTER I OFF TO MANOR HALL IF Daniel Phipps, Jr., fourteen years old, freckled and red haired had been c onten t to bathe his eye with a little water and let it go at that, he might have finished out his early education at the Westbrook High School, and then have gone off to college But young Mr. Phipps thought that that particular eye demanded the attention of a piece of beefsteak. Mrs. Phipp s came into the kitchen while Danny was ministering to the injury, and though he fled has tily, he fled Vl(_ithout success. "What is the matter with Danny?" M rs. Phipp s demanded of Nora, the cook. "He has a black eye, ma'am." "A black eye?" "Yes, ma'am." I


DANNY FISTS "Where did he get a black eye?" "In a fight, sure." Mrs. Phipps gasped. "It's nothing, ma'am," Nora soothed; "noth ing to worry about. It ain't his first fight, and it ain't his first black eye." Mrs. Phipps gasped again. She open ed the kitchen door. Her son had disappeared. "Nora," she said severely, "tell me what Danny has been doing." Half an hour later Mrs. Phipps came from the kitchen, went directly to the telephone in the li brary, and called for the Phipps Iron vVorks. "Daniel," she said, "I wish you would come home early to-day." Mr. Phipps' voice was anxious. "What's the matter? Anything wrong at the house?" "Your son," said Mrs. Phipps, "is becoming a little rowdy." At three o'clock Mr. Phipps reached home. Ihere were lines in his face that told of worry. "What's Danny been doing?" he demanded "Fighting," Mrs. Phipps answ ered sternly. "He has a black eye. You know, Daniel, I have 2


OFF TO MANOR HALL often suggested that we move from this house. Now see the result. A neighborhood of rough boys has formed on the next street, and Nora tells me that Danny is one of the-the 'gang.' Her husband frowned. "What was Danny fighting about?" "I do not know He has a black--" Mr. Phipps' face cleared a bit. "Black eyes and boys seem to go together a bit, Martha," he argued, with an attempt at cheerfulness "I think I had one or two myself before I quit school." "Do you know what the-the 'gang' calls your son?" "Danny Phipps, I suppose." "They call him 'Danny 'Fists.' Why? Be cause he fights so much. Danny Fists I Think of it." "I'll talk to Danny," Mr. Phipps said slowly. The interview between father and s.:m took place that August night. Mr. Phipps sat in the library and stared across the table at the quiet boy. "That's a bad eye, Danny," he began. 3


DANNY FISTS Danny flushed. "Yes, sir." "How did it happen?" "One of the fellows said he could whip me if I'd promise not to hit in the clinches." "Did you hit in the clinches?" "No, sir," Danny answered in surprise. "I promised." Mr. Phipps nodded. So far there was nothing to stamp his son as a rowdy. "They call you Danny Fists, don't they?" he began again. "Yes, sir." "Why?" "They say I'm pretty good with my fista." Mr. Phipps frowned. This was bad. Fighting?" he asked. "Yes, sir." "Bullying, I suppose, and picking on the little fellows?" Danny's eyes widened. "No, dad; none of that. Our fellows wouldn't allow anything like that." "But th ey're a rough crowd over there, aren't they, Danny?" Mr. Phipps asked, wav-4


... OFF TO MANOR HALL ing his hand in the direction of the next street. "Why, no, sir. They're just-just--" "Just what?" "Just fellows, sir." The man seemed to understand what his son meant. He nodded his head once or twice. "Danny," he asked quietly, "how is it you get into so many street fights." .The boy seemed puzzled. "You do get into fights right along, don't you ?n "Sometimes, sir. Not street fights, though. We don't go around looking for trouble. You know how it is in a crowd, dad. Once in a while there's a squabbl e and then we go behind our ba rn and sail in. We don't get hurt much. If I fight some fellow, and the other fellows see he can b e st me, they just stop it and we shake hands, an d that's the end of it." "So I No mean, nasty, grudge fights or anything like that?" "No, sir." And no picking on, and bullying, the smaller boys?'' 5.


DANNY FISTS "I'd like to see any fellow try it in our crowd," D a nny answered, simply. Mr. Phipps leaned back in his chair. Slowly a smile came to his mouth. "That's a dandy eye," he said. "Who won?" Danny grinned. "I guess it was about even. Can I go out for half an hour, dad? Pete Meyer said he'd show me his new pups if I'd go around to his house to-night "Who's Pete Meyer, son?" "Why," said Danny "he' s the boy I fought to-day The ma n patted the boy's shoulder "Go ahead, Danny Take an hour if you like Though Mr. Phipps' mi n d was now at ease with respec t to his son M r s Phip ps r efused to be convinced "Danny Fists I The idea. It sounds like a prize-fighter." "The boy's all right, Martha," Mr. Phipps a rgued. "He fights, and shakes hands, and for ets it. There's no bullying, no grudges, no sneakrng meanness. There's the making of a fine man in Danny." 6


OFF TO MANOR HALL "There is," Mrs. Phipps agreed, proudly. "We must see that the mak ings are not spoiled. If he enters the Westbrook H igh School-" "If?" "If he enters," Mrs. Phipps repeated. "If he does enter next month, he will remain friendly with those rough boys in the next street-and come home with more black eyes.'! "Danny says _just.fellows," her husband remarked. Mrs. Phipps ignored the observation. "I think, for Danny's own good, should send him to boarding school. The discipline of a good school would do him good." Mr. Phipps stared straight ahead. "Any par ticular school, Martha?" "I thought of Manor Hall," Mrs. Phipps said, hesitatingly, and Danny's father promptly grinned. "Oh, that's all right," he agreed, heartily. "That's only two hours from here. I can run up there any time I get lonesome for the boy." "You mean we can run up there whenever we 7


DANNY FISTS get lone some, Mrs. Phipps amended, and then they smiled at each other. That nig h t, when he returned from his pup in spection, Danny was told of Manor Hall. "Have they a gym, and a c oach and a locker room, and all that?" Danny demanded, eagerly. Mr. Phipps laughed. "You're going to Manor Hall to study-Danny Fists." "Danny Fists!" cried his mother, in d i gnantly Three days l a t e r the Manor Hall catalog came, and Danny smuggled it up t o his room. The glorious book t old him that the school colors were green and wh ite; that it had a gymnasi um and an athl e tic field; that it boasted a track t eam, a foot ball squad and a b a seball nine and that graduate and paid coa ches directed the teams. Augus t gave place to Septembe r. There were days :;n d days of packing Everybody seemed to be kinder than usual to Danny. Peter Meyer offered him one of the pups. Nora made him a ginger ca ke all for himself. His father came home earlier and t ook h i m out for long walks into the country. A nd so came his last night at home 8


OFF TO MANOR HALL Danny, hi s fath e r and h i s mothe r sat al o ne in the library. For a long time there was sil ence "Danny," said his mother at l as t, you will find youn

DANNY FISTS "Keep a grip on yourself, son," he said, gently. He asked the boy to make no promises. Ten o'clock came, and Danny said good-night and went up to his room. Twice during the night he awoke, and each time his mother sat motion less in the little rocker beside his bed. Next morning there was a mighty hurrying and scurrymg. Nora gave him another cake all wrapped in a little box and tied with blue ribbon. Danny was quite manly through it all, but a lump sprang into his throat as he stood on the station platform and felt the grip of his father's hand. "Good luck, son. Danny couldn't answer. "All a-board I" rang the call of the train crew. His mother caught him, held him close, and let him go. "No fighting, Danny," she whispered "No-no fighting," Danny gulped. A moment later he was up on the car steps anc:l the train was moving out. He waved his handker chief until the station passed from sight. After that he pushed open the nearest door and entered IO


OFF TO MANOR HALL a day coach. His eyes were blurred with a cloudy mist. "Ouch cri ed a boyish voice. Danny stumbled and barely saved himself from falling. "Look out, there, Red-top,'' cautioned the same voice. "Those are my feet." That hated name sent the mists from Danny's eyes and the hot blood into his head. His freckled :fists clin ched and he swung around toward the voice. '.nd then came a thought of his father's talk on emper. He turned away with an effort, and went down the aisle of the car. He had had a good look at the boy who had aroused him-a boy with a round, fat, jolly face and a brown telescope hat. There had been a ribbon around the hat, a ribbon of green and white a ribbon that flaunted the colors of Manor Hall.


CHAPTER II THE FIGHT WO hours later Danny came to his feet with a joyous bound as the trainmen cried "Manor Hall I" through the coaches. Temporarily the j olly-looking ch ap who had stirred his fighting blood was forgotten. He swung down the train steps with his hand b ag, and immediately hastened forward to the baggage car. There he waited until he saw his trunk come forth and take its place in a long line of trunks l abeled "Manor Hall School. After that Danny took stock of his surround : ings Cool, tree-lined streets ran off three ways )fro m the lit tle stone station. The town, from what he could see of it, had a clean, neat, wellkept look. Danny was sure that he would like the place. Next he glanced with tinges of excitement at the bo y s spri nkled thickly around the station. Most of them had green and white bands on their I z'


THE FIGHT hats. Two or t h ree boys wore coat sweaters, and the sweaters bore triumphant green M's. Danny knew that t hese boys were Manor Hall's athietic heroes and that the letters were the insignia of work well done on track, on field on diamond and on gridiron. He studied these athletes care fully He confessed to himself after a m inute1 that they l ooked not a bit different than the boys he knew at home They, too, were just fellows In the bustle and confus}on nobody spoke to Danny, and Danny made no advances Gradua lly the boys thinned out i nto a broken line, and t h e l ine moved up the widest and the coolest of t h e three streets. Danny, his bag gripped w ith hot fingers followed. Presently he came to the school grounds. He had studied hi s catalog thoroughly. He knew that freshmen we r e quartered in rooms w ith old e r boys, and he also knew that boys as they arrived, reported at the school office and we re then as signed to rooms. He went directly to t he or, rather, the outer office. The inn e r office, as Danny was to learn later, was the official home of Dr. Wilmer, the school p rincip a l. 13


DANNY FISTS After a while the boy found himself at a desk farthest from the entrance. He gave his name The man at the desk consulted a bundle of notes. "Phipps!" he repeated. "Here we are He smiled up at Danny "You have room No. 52. You're in with Dutton. guess you'll like him school before?" He's a fine chap, and I Ever been to boarding "No, sir," Danny answered. "I hope you'll like Manor Hall. Things are pretty much upset just now, and it may be half an hour before I can have somebody show you to your room. If you care to look around-" The man glanced questioningly at Danny. "Perhaps I could find my room," the boy sug gested. The man smiled again "Good! Here's your key. In case you get lost come back here for help." "Yes, sir," said Danny. But he knew that he would find his way. He had recognized the dor mitory building, from its photograph in the cata log, as soon as he reached the school property. He found on investigation that the ground floor 14 ..


THE FIGHT had rooms numbered up to 19. On the floor above he found room No. 20 at the stair landing. N in e te en rooms on a floor," Danny figured. "No use looking here. I'm due on the third floor." He climbed another flight of stairs, and speed ily found the quarters that would be his for nin e long months. The room had plenty of light from two long windows. Two b eds ran out from a sid e wall, a nd in a corner was a porcelai n wash basin with runni ng water. The floor rug wa s warm with color. Over toward th e win dows were two small study t ables each with its rear rack for books and each with its long, wide drawer. A roomy clos e t filled the corner over from the wash-basin, and th e sidewall across from the beds held a high, narrow dresser. The dresser m irror look e d as though several generations of boys had stormed it unsucc essfully, for t hough the glas s was gene rously cracked and chipped it still held to gether. Danny pulled open the t wo upper drawers of the dresse r. They were n eatly fille d w ith fresh laundry. "Guess Dutton's here," he muttered H e looke d 1 5


DANNY FISTS into the two lower drawers They were empty. Into them Danny put the contents of his hand bag. Then he sat down on one of the beds and stared around the room "Great!" he breathed "A couple of school flags, and a few pictures--Say, this is going to be some room It was long past the dinner hour, but that did not bother him. On the train he had eaten the cake that Nora had tied with the blue ribbon. Now he went down to the yard where, in front of the dormitory building, several boys were throw ing a baseball around. Danny would have liked to get into the play, but his sense of newness held him back. He moved off to the outskirts where he could watch without being in the wa.y. Soon the boy nearest him missed the ball. The leather bounded past Danny. "Get that ball, freshie," called the boy who had missed the catch. The tone was domineering-and Danny was not the sort to take bossing. Yet he was new to Manor Hall, and he knew nothing of the school's '16


THE FIGHT traditions. it was a custom for new boys to submit to the orders of the older fellows Danny chased after the ball. "Throw it here," the domineering boy ordered. Danny threw Presently the player missed again "Chase it," he called to Danny This time Danny moved off slowly. "Faster, there," came the insol ent voice. Danny stopped. Every inch of his nature was up in arms. School custom or no school custom, he wasn't to be bullied that way "Well," came the voice, now with a trace of surprise, "aren't you going to get that ball?" "No," said Danny. Instantly there was commotion in the yard. The boy who had missed the ball ran over toward Danny. The other players followed him. Around the yard went the excited announcement that "Baggs is in a row w ith a new chap." To Danny came the thought just then that he had promised before leaving home that he would not fight. Yet his experience told him that right now the situation held some of the earmarks of 17


DANNY FISTS trouble. The better to keep from battle he thoughtfully dug his hands into his trouser pock ets. Then the other boy had him by the arm. "Get that ball, freshie." Had the tone been mild, Danny might even at this l ate stage have backed down. But the voice was still commanding. Danny's hands went deeper into his pockets, but his lips t witched -and any of Danny's old friends could have told that that twitch meant that som eth ing was due to start. "Get it," the sharp voice insisted. Still Danny did not move. "Oh, very well. I suppose I'll have to make you. Come along." The boy pulled at Danny's arm, pulled with a vigorous, wrenching strength. And in that moment the gentlemanly Daniel Phipps, Jr., packed off to gentlemanly Manor Hall, became "Danny Fists" aga in. His hands came out of his pockets. One palm went under the other boy's chin; th en his arm pushed out. The troub le-hunter caugh t off his guard, reeled backward and fell. "Fight!" yelled an excited chap. 18


THE FIGHT It seemed to Danny that boys came runnmg from all directions. "That kid knocked Donald Baggs down," four or five fellows shouted to the newcomers. "Whew!" breathed one voice. "Good for the little chap." Meanwhile Donald had regained his feet. Danny expected a rush that would have kept him busy. Instead, the bully faced him angrily. "Look here are you going to apologize or nght ?" "Fight," said Danny, promptly There was a buzz from the boys Still Baggs did not rush, nor did he put up his hands Danny wondered what sort of fight this was to be. One of the bigger boys stepped out from the ranks of the spectators. ''I'll take charge of this," he announced. "Back of Hinks' to-night, after supper. Here, Dutton, will you second this new chap?" "You bet," came a voice. Danny faced around. Dutton was the name of his room-mate. Who was D utton ? He saw coming toward him the fat, 19


DANNY FISTS jolly-lookin g boy who had aroused hi m m the trai n "Le t's ge t out of here," said D u tton. B ut the fight Danny started to protest. "Oh, that does n t come off until after supper. I'll exp l ain the rules. Want to go to your room?. D a n n y nodded. A ll r ight; l ea d the way So Danny marched off to the dormitory build ing followed by the eyes of almo s t every fellow in the yard. He went up to the third floo r, and threw open the door of room No. 52. "Whew! gasped Dutton. "So you're Daniel Phipps. They t old me at t he office that's who I'd have this year. Didn't I see you on the train? Sh a ke." That train incident still r ankled in Danny's mind For a mom ent he d ebated whether he would t ake the offere d h a nd. But Dutton was such a sincere sort of chap that Danny quickly decided that here was a place where it was b est for him to forget his sensitiveness. They shook hands 20


THE FIGHT "Bang I" chuckled Dutton. "And then Don Baggs was on his back. Let's shake again." The ceremony was repeated, and Ralph Dutton's enthusiasm brought a smile to Danny's face Presently the older boy leaned back on one of the beds "Now I'll tell you the rules," he said "You heard that fellow say Hinks'? Well, he was a senior monitor. Dr. Wilmer insists that the senior monitors take charge of all scr ap s andHello I What's the matter?" Danny's mouth was open. "The principal?" "Sure, Ralph nodded. "Does he allow fights?" "You bet. The senior monitors take charge and the f ellow s who are at it fight three three minute rounds Then, if the referee cannot de cide, one more round is fought. Of course, the fight is stopped as soon as one chap shows he's the other chap's master. Dr. Wilmer feels that it's better to ha ve the students fight out their dif ferences fair and square than to carry grudges Of course, if there were too many mix-ups I sup pose t he Doctor would stop i t. Lots of fellow s 21


DANNY FISTS say we're a rowdy school because of these fights, but I guess we don't have as many as the schools where they' re absolutely pro hi bi ted." Slowly a grin came to Danny's face. "That's funny,,, he chuckled. "What's funny." "My mother sent me here0because I was getting into too many fights at home-wanted to keep me out of fights." The humor of the situation didn't appeal to Ralph. He stared at Danny with respect. "So you've fought before, eh?" "Lots of times," answered Danny, stoutly. "Then you have a chance with Don, I guess.', Danny shifted uneasily. "Is he such a won-der?" he asked. "Oh, he's been in two or three. He's the 'Vars ity center. He's a decent enough chap, I guess, only he seems to like to bully somebody, and most of the fellows stand for it." "I almost wish I had," muttered Danny, think ing suddenly of his promise. Ralph gasped. Plainly his new room-mate 22


THE FIGHT wasn't afraid, and yet he regretted the coming fray. What was at the bottom of all this? "I promised them at home that I wouldn't get into scraps," Danny explained, uneasily. "I seem to get mixed up in fights all the time. That's why my mother sent me here-told me this was a plac e where there were only gentlemen and that I wouldn't get into rows." This time Ralph saw the humorous side. "Somebody ought to tell that to Dr. Wilmer," he laughed. Danny's mouth, however, remained serious. "Of course," he grumbled, "I'll stay in this now that I am in, but I surely did mean to keep the peace." "Well," sai Ralph, wisely, "if you have a fighting streak, you and Don were sure to hook up sooner or later. So what's the difference?" Danny didn't waste time answering that argu ment. Ralph started the water running in the wash-basin. "Dig in," he ordered. "Wash up." "What for?" Danny wanted to know. "Rules. That's what the seconds are for. 23


DANNY FISTS Wilmer says there's no danger of blood poisoning if a fellow's hands and face are clean, so the s econds must see that he washes. Then, if he breaks some skin everything's fine and dandy. And, saynothing to eat until after the fight." Danny wa s used to more than cake for dinner, and his stomach had begun to feel empty. "Why not?" he demanded. "You're better off without it. You'll ge t plenty when the scrap's ove r. I'll see to that. Stretch I off on the bed and rest. I'll come for you whe n everything's ready." Danny tried to follow instructions. But his mind began to hark back home. Here he was in just the trouble he had promised to avoid. How had he come to get into this affair? He r ehearse d the scene in the yard, and suddenly his indignation flared against wha t he called his "luck." "Can't re st," he told himself. "Doesn' t do any good to lie here and get hot. I'll move around. I did mean to keep out of trouble." He tried sitt ing at a w indow and wa tching the busy yard. This brought no relief. He pictured Baggs the 'Varsity center. Baggs was his supe24


THE FIGHT rior in height, in weight and in reach. Dann y's stout little heart didn't flinch, but something told him that he was due to take the small end of this particular count. There was still an hour of d ay light left when Ralph came back. "Hustle," h e ordered. They came out to the yard and turned south. Soon they came to a country lane. Down they walked. "No roughing or wrestling," Ralph cautioned. "If your man's down, even if only on one knee, you must wait for him to get up." "All right," said Danny. "Look out for Don's left. That's his best, be cause he has a good reach, and he's clever and cool. Nobody has ever hit him hard. I don't know how he'd stand that. Can you hit?" Danny gingerly felt the muscle-iron of his sturdy, young arm. "A little," he confessed. "Then get him with a cou ple of good ones. As long as he c an stand there and exchange taps he doesn't have to worry about the other fellow. I've always thought that if somebody landed a good one on him he'd curl up." 25


DANNY FISTS "Then," said Danny, "I'll g et him. "Whew!" whistled Ralph. P r et ty confident, eh?" "I never worry a b o ut w h a t the o the r f e ll ow is doi n g to me," D a n n y e x pl aine d "and I c a n ge t 'most anybo d y onc e or t w ice. The n if the y h av e any y e llo w they quit." "Whew I w histl e d Ralph agam. A ru s h e r, eh ?i That'll keep Don going som e But loo k out for that left. He'll shoot it strai ght out a nd s top you sure." "I'll watch that left," said D an n y gri m ly. ,They came in sight of a b a rn. "That's H inks' !Ralph told him. F i v e hundre d fee t fa r ther on almost one hu ndre d boys w ere g ro up e d Seve r a l, in their shirt s leeves, were runnin g two stout r ope s around st a k e s tha t h a d been d r i ven i nto t he grou nd. Danny felt his h eart flut t er. v V hy, this was goin g t o b e a rea l fight in a r ea l rin g l Ralph k ept him a b i t o utsid e the cro wd. Danny could see t ha t mo s t o f th e b oys were watching him, and he fel t a bi t un easy A little bunch o f fell('ws-freshmen-starte d a cheer for Danny, 26


T H E F IGHT but were quickly silenced Two st ools were put in the ring. Ralph c ame o ve r. "All right he whispered B r oughton i s referee. Come on." Ralph climbed through the ropes bu t Danny vaulted them. He took one of the stool s Broughton came over, Ralph spoke a few words of introduction and Danny shook hands with the referee. A moment later Broughton tossed something to Ralph "Here,, said the second; "pl,lt t hese on." He held out boxing gloves Danny made a wry face. He would have felt more at h ome with t he bare fists that nature had given him. However, he held out his hands and t he glove s we r e soon laced. Presently Bro ug h t o n called: Ready? "Ready I answered Ralph "Ready! c ame from Don Baggs c orne r "Shake hands," t he r eferee ordered, ;J,nd t h e two boys stepped out to the center of the r ing. Their gloves touched. Danny felt a lump of ex citement rise in his throat. The gloves felt l ike pillows He tu rned away, and -27


DANNY FISTS "Time!" called Broughton / And th e n Danny the Danny Fists of Westbrook-forgo t the lump in his throat. He fell into a crouch that came natural to him, and his hands darted back and forth like tongues of flame from a dying fire Baggs, he thought, seemed all hands, and arms, and eibows There seemed to be no pl ace to hit with hope of success. "Watch th a t l e ft," called Dutton anxiously "Keep him a way Don; keep him away," came from the oth e r corner. Danny saw a flash, and Baggs' left was in his face. He swung, but Baggs was several feet away. Somebody chuckled. "That's it, Don; hit and get away," came from t he 'Varsity player's second. "Watch that left," pleaded Ralph. '"I will," Danny vowed; and then the left popped him on the nose. There was no sting to the blo ws. In fact they were merely slaps But Danny found it ex asperating to have a g love snapping i n his face, and the chap behind the glove a lw ays too far away to hit. He jumped forward with wild lu n ges, but 28


THE FIGHT his antagonist seemed to glide away from danger. Then came the chuckle again, and this time Danny knew that it was Baggs who laughed That laugh, coupled with his own disgust at being punched s o freely without a return, made Danny forgetful of everything save the desire to hit. Suddenly he rushed Baggs, caught un awares, was driven up against the ropes. Twice Danny's gloves found him before he glided away. The blows had been fairly vigorous, and this time Baggs did not chuckle. "Watch the left," Dutton warned. Now that he had found his man Danny felt more at home. This was somethin g like it I Three times the left snapped over on his face Then h e started another rush. But this time Baggs was prepared. He moved back a halfstep, braced, and shot out the left strong and straight Danny, rushing wildly, stopped with a j ar. For an instant he wobbled on his feet "Cover up I" yelled Dutton. "Cover up!" "Get him," came from Baggs' corner. "Right and left l Get him."


DANNY FISTS Danny hugged his arms to his sides, crouched over to protect his stomach, and guarded his face with the palms of the open gloves. The blows pounded against his arms. "Time!" came a voice. Danny went back to his corner. Dutton met him anxiously. "How do you feel?" "All right now. He shook me up a little." "Didn't I tell you to watch out for that left?" "I forgot." Danny shook his head. "He won't get me again." "Don't let him." Ralph plied a towel vigor ously. "That one was almost your finish." "Time!" came a voice. Baggs, by this time, had decided that he was master of the situation. He waded in with more freedom. Snap I Snap! Snap! Each time the left glove found Danny's face. The 'Varsity player, secure in his own cleverness, b ega n to pay less attention to Danny's actions, and began to wink at friends about the ringside. "Pretty easy, eh?" he called. '.And then Danny ducked, and slipped under that 30


"This tim e Broughton did not have to push back Danny."


THE FIGHT straight left. His right glove shot out to the pit of the other boy's stomach "U-u-h !" Baggs, with the w in d almost knocked out of him, backed away "After him, Danny," yelled Dutt.on. Around the ringside there were cries of excite ment. The freshmen, thoroughly in sympathy with Danny, yelled wildly, and this time no senior monitor thought to repre s s them The monitors had caught the battle fever, too. Wise young D a nny, veteran of many West-' brook fights, nee ded no u rging. He knew all the signs of the opponent in distress. Right after Don Baggs he went, and feinted him ove r toward a corner. Don was ready for the rush. It came. But suddenly Danny stopped, and the other boy's straight left found only empty air. The force of the blow carri e d Baggs in. Cheerfully Danny put his right glove over for a hard cross-counter to Baggs' jaw. Down went the bigger boy. "Eat him up, Danny," shouted the freshmen. The older students marveled excited ly at the sh owing of the "little chap." Broughton had pushed Danny back. His arm 31


DANNY FISTS rose and fell as he counted: "One-twothree-" "Time I" came the voice of the time-keeper. ''Great I" gulped Dutton as Danny came back to the corner. "You caught him hard that time. Now watch him curl up." And, in that third round, Baggs surely did "curl." He had learn ed to respect Danny's gloves. He kept away-far away-and kept the straight left working as he stepped in and then out. It was skill against the boy who knew only hammer and tongs. Once Danny reached his opponent, but the blow found Baggs going away. Danny had sense enough to know that if things kept going at their present pace he would lose the fight on points. The f ellow s outside the ring knew it, too, and many of them yelled to Danny to bore in and take a chance. But the lad from Westbrook knew a trick that was worth two of that. In the old give-and-take days at Westbrook the stratagem had succeeded many times. But would it 11ucceed against the scientific Baggs ? Danny did not know, but he was at a place where he had 32 I


THE FIGHT to try s o m e thing. A nd this particular something was to lead the left, to permit it to fall short on the opponent's arm and then to snap it forward as the opponent tried to counter. The third round was two minutes old. The 2 seconds were racing away. Outsid e the ring the r e was a sputtering clamor. Suddenly Danny saw his chance. Out went his left, apparently at Baggs' head, but in reality only on to the 'Varsity boy's right guard. Baggs saw the blow start. Realizing hi s advantage in reach, he promptly sent out that cle ver left for Danny's head. But Danny's head was ducked to the side, and the glove went past. A t the same instant Danny's left snapped ahead w ith every ounce of Danny's weight b e hind it. "Watch this," yelled a lad who had detected the stratagem Those outside the ring saw Bagg s chin meet the glove. A ppare ntly there did not seem to be much force to the blow; but Danny, with wildly beating pulse, felt the other boy's chin even through the glove. He knew the blow had told. 33


DANNY FISTS Back staggered Baggs. From the ringside came a yell. "Now, Danny I" shouted Dutton. And D anny 's right and left, sweeping in wide circles, found their mark. Baggs sank to the ground. This time Broughton did not have to push back Danny, for Danny had walked to his c o rner. Broughton started to count, lo oked intently at Baggs, and abruptly stopped countin g and pointed to where Ralph Dutton danced with crazy joy. "The little chap wins," the referee call ed "I forget his name The freshmen, however, had not forgotten. Their disorganized cnes became a scratchy, ragged cheer : 'Rah, 'rah, 'rah, 'Rah, 'ra h, 'rah, 'Rah, 'rah, 'rah Phipps! Phipps Phipps!" Danny s c rambled over the ropes Dutton had an arm across his shoulder. Big, broad-sho uldered seniors called to him that he was a "game l ittle rooster. Danny did not hear them, nor 3 4


THE FIGHT did Ralph. In all that clamor one voice had reached their ears. "Good-night," it had said. "Baggs will carry a grudge against that red-haired chap as long as they're both at Manor Hall." /


CHAPTER III A LETTE R F ROM HOME ALL th e w a y back to the yard R a lph bab bl e d abo ut the v icto ry As soo n as No. 52 of the dormitory building was r e ach ed, he disap p ear e d. Prese ntly h e returned wi th a covered platter and a gla ss of w a rm milk. "Drink this," he ordered. He handed Danny the glass. Danny drank. Then the platte r was uncovered. Danny saw cold m eat in abundance, and bread and butter. / "Hungry?" Ralph asked. "Starved," answered Danny; and proved his claim by eating e v erything on the plate. They went out late r, and D a nny h a d his first night in t he ya rd. A bright S ept emb e r m oon turn e d i nto s i lver eve r y th i n g on w h i c h it sh o ne, an d l eft all e lse in bla ckness. T h e t w o boys k ept to th e sh a d ow. Murm uri ng voices, h ere a nd th e re boyi s h l a u g h te r, off to th e left a bit of song-to 36


A LETTER FROM HOME Danny it was all quite wonderful. He and Ralph stepped out into the moonlight. "There he is," yelled a voice from the darkness. 'Rah, 'rah, 'rah, Phipps!" Other voices took up the cheer. Danny drew back into the shadow. Ralph followed him with a laugh. "Here less than a day," he said, "and the hero of the yard already." Danny was silent. "Huh I" Ralph snorted. "You don't seem to be stuck on being a hero." "I'm not," snapped Danny. "I broke my prom ise not to fight. Now I must write home and tell all about this scrap." Ralph became tho ughtful. "What will they say?" "Don't know," Danny answered, moodily. "Guess I'll go in and write.;' They returned to No. 52. Danny, at one of the study tables, scratched his head for a while. Finally, he wrote: DEAR MOTHER: I am sorry, but I have been in a fight. I couldn't help it. A big 37


DANNY FISTS chap named Donal d Baggs tried to boss me, and, when I refus e d to chase his b aseba ll, he tri ed to pull me over and make me pick it up. I couldn' t let him pull me around, could I ? S o the re was a fight, and a moni tor from the sen ior cl ass was t he referee. We used gloves, not our fists I am sor r y, because I meant to keep my promise. My room-mate is R a lp h Dutton He's a good fello w. He was my second in the fight. Y ouR LovING SoN. P. S.-Please tell dad I won. Danny mailed the letter at a pos t box not far from th e yard. W hen he returned to the room Ralph was preparing for bed. "Better turn in," he advised Danny. "Tomorrow's a busy day. You must see Dr. Wilmer, and you must see Craig." "Who's Craig?" Danny asked "He's the coach," was the answer And Danny went to b e d with a fluttering heart. At l a st he was to m ee t a man who directed the athletics of a great school. Next morning, at breakfast, there was a bit more of hero-worship; but D a nny made so little 38


A LETTER FRO M HOME fu s s a b out the demonstration that i t fina ly died a n atura l de a th. After breakfast Ralph to ok him to the office. There he took a seat in a l ong li ne of fre shmen One by o n e they passed into the i nner office, and at last it was Danny's turn A card bearing his name had preceded him. He found Dr. W ilm er a broad-shouldered, deep c hested man, w i th a fussy range of gray hair, and wide friendly eyes. "Phipps!" the Doctor r epe ated. "I am pleased to m eet you, Mr. Phipps. I understand that you too k advantage yesterday of one of Manor H all's r egulations." Danny's face reflected surprise "I mean fighting," said the Doctor. This time th e boy colored a w kwardly. He wante d to say somethin g but somehow his tongue seem ed glued. Frankly, sa id th e Doctor, "I b elieve in l etting boys figh t out their differences. One good fight, an d everything is s e ttl e d. Boys are like the weather. Rumblings and mu tte rin gs brin g protracte d spells of darkened gloom On the other hand, a good stormy squall, with plenty of light-39


DANNY FISTS ning, means a clear sky on the morrow. I hope you see my point, Mr. Phipps?" "Yes, sir," answered Danny. "Of cours e," the Doctor continued, thou gh t fully, "too many storms are scarcely to be desired On the ocean ships try to escape the storm zones And if a boy should develop into a storm zone all by himself, why, if it should happen that that boy attended school, it would be either a case of re moving the school or remo v ing the boy." The Doctor rais ed his eyes. Yes sir," murmured Danny. You are sure you catch my meaning, Mr. Phipps?" Danny nodded. "Yes, sir. I do not think I'm a storm zone." "Let us hope not." The Doctor smiled a friendly smile "You look to be a good, clear headed chap. Manor Hall needs boys like you. Have you had much chance to look around?" "No, sir." "Then spend the day getting acquainted Run over to the gymnasium. It is just as imp?rtant that you should know Manor Hall as that Manor 40


'.A LETTER FROM HOME' Hall should know you. We have a cheerful sort of school. The rules are few and simple. We insist, howev er, that they be obeyed." "I'll obey them said Danny. "Then," said the Doctor with a smile, "you and the faculty should be great friends. Butah-Mr. Phipps-not too much fighting." Danny felt an urgent longing to explain the cause of the battle at Hinks'. Telling tales, how ever, scarcely appealed to him. "Yes, sir," he said. A minu te later he was out in front of the office. There Ralph awaited him. "Over to the gym," s a id his room-mate. They crossed the yard, crossed the road, and came to the athletic field on the other side. At the end of the field was the gymnasium building. They entered through a narrow doorway. "First you see Dr. McDonald," said Ralph. "He decides w hether you're strong enough for football. He's a town doctor, but he does the school work, too. If he says you can play foot. b all, you see Craig." "Why?" 41


DANNY I TS "Why?" Ralph stared. "Say, where ha v:: you c ome from? Everybody at Mano r p l y s football That's o u r big game. Other scho o s th ink we're c r a zy to take sue an int ere st in the ga me, bu t we're in for foo tb a ll eve ry m i nute You' re a c hunky chap. You ought to make the fresh man t eam." Danny hadn' t had mu ch e xperienc e with foot ball. What he had seen of it at home had not imp re ssed him favorably For that matter D a nn y's football experience had been c onfined to watching a dozen or more boys pull and h a ul each o t h r arouno a field. Comp a red to the game as h e knew it tu g -o'wa r was excitin g S upp ose I don't want to p lay football," h demand ed. "You won t amount to much, Ralph answered, "if you flunk football It's the b ig sport at s chool. Why, l as t ye a r some chap's mother wrote a nd sa i d she thought football a bruta l sport. Dr. Wilmer s en t h e r a ripping l etter. Some of the fellows saw a cop y The l et t e r said that the fac ulty thought football the finest sport in t he world to t each a fellow manliness, and that if any stu -42


A LETTER FROM HOME dent thought otherwise, he had better leave the chool. So the chap who s e mothe r sent the letter left schoo l. Hello! Here's D r. McDonald." At the end of a room li ned w i t h what l ooked to be a sheet of m eta l wire Danny s aw a plain, thin man who wore enormous spe ct a cles D anny prodded b y Ralph walked do wn the r oom He saw as he went along th a t the wire wa ll was b roke n at regula r intervals, and natural int elligence told him that the wire formed t he out sid e of the lockers, and tha t he was in t he locker room Over i n one corner a corner that w as partitione d off b y a w a ll of som e stone mat e ri alwere five showers T h ere we re n o curtains to confine the s p ray, but t he concre t e flooring s l op e d so that t he wate r from a ll five flowe d t o a com mo n drain in the center There we r e l i ttl e nick el knobs unde r e a ch shower so that it wa s p o ssible t o regula t e the chi ll of the wa ter. "Elere' s a n othe r freshma n doctor sa i d Ra l p h. "Strip," said the docto r, b riefly So Danny, in a corner curtained off for that purpose t oo k off his clot h ing. Then he went forth to the little, thin man with the e n o r m ou s 43


( DANNY FISTS glasses. The doctor prodded him, thumped him, sounded him, and ran a tape around his chest and told him to let out the air and th e n to take it in. All the while the man of medicine made queer m a rks on a printed chart. Finally he whipped up the tape, grunted, and turned to his chart. "Go see Craig," he ordered, gruffly. "Hurrah!" yell e d Dutton. "You're m good shape." So Danny went up a flight of stairs and c a me to a floor that seemed to run riot with ropes, and trapeze, and horizontal bars and mats. An in door rubber covered shot l ay on the floor. In a 1 distant corner were four or five vaulting poles and far down the room were uprights for the high jumpers. Craig, the coach, stood near the horizont a l bars He was le an, and hard, and clear-skinned He gave Danny a cheery smile. "Did the doctor send you here?" "Yes, sir." "Forget the 'sir '." Now Crai g 's smile was broad. "I think I'm a bit of a boy myself That's 44


fA. LETTER FROM HOME why I get along so well with the fellows, I guess. And call me Craig-just plain Craig." "Very well, Craig," said Danny. He gave his name. The coach ran him to a scale. The bar jumped, fluttered, and finally settled. "One hundred and twenty-five," said the coach. He prodded Danny's arms, his thighs, his chest. "You're pretty solid. Ever play football?" "Well," said Danny, "we played with a foot ball." Craig stared. He met dozens of boys yearly who said they knew the game, and then proved that they knew it not. This w a s the first time in his career that a freshman had given such an answer. "Why do you say you played with a football?" he asked. "Home," Danny answered, slowly, "we just lined up sides in a vacant lot and pull e d each other all over the place. Now, here is a school with all this stuff," and his arms waved out as though to indicate the ropes, the mats, the up rights, the vaulting poles and the shot. "And here 45 /


DANNY FISTS they have a paid c oac h. They must play different football here." B rain s," Craig muttered unde r his breath. He wrote something on the pad under Danny 's name. "Turn out at t wo thirty o'clock tomorrow for footba ll practice," h e orde red. Danny nodded F ootball i s the bi g game at Manor Hall," Craig continued "It's this way : Dr. Wil me r, who has studied boys fo r a long time, and studied them successfully has the theory that any boy w ho is going to make much of a man h as to have a spirit of his own, and must then get that spirit under control." "That's wha t my dad said," Danny broke in Craig g l ance d up sharply "What's that?" "Tha t's what my dad said. He told me that if Manor Hall taught me to cont ro l myself he'd be satisfied." The coach noti ced the boy's red hair. His face softened. "We'll try to t each you that, Danny, he said "Perh aps tha1t's why dad sent me here," Danny sugg es ted, shyly.


I A LETTER FROM HOME "Perhaps," the coach agreed. "You see Dr. Wilmer believes that foo t ball is the greatest in the world to t eac h a fellow self-control. He started ten years ago with tha t footb a ll idea, and since then every class has h a d its own team. Of course, some boys are not physically able t o play t he game; bu t every fell ow who has the stock and the heart is expected to get out. The doctor says that what football t ea ches a m an abou t his temper can be l earne d in no other way In foot b all, th e big thing is to keep your eyes on the ball. And the chap who wa tc hes the ball hasn't any time to lose his temper. On th e other hand, the fell ow who loses his temper and th en sees r ed, doesn't see the b a ll." "What happens to him ?" Danny asked "He doesn' t last," said th e coach, sharply. The next momen t he smi le d Bu t you look like a chap who ca n hold hi mself in "I'll try," said D an ny, "if-if-" "If what?" "If nobody calls me 'Red' The coach turned hi s head away "Keep a gri p 47


DANNY FISTS on yourself, Danny," he advised, gently. "Tomorrow at two-thirty.u Danny left with Ralph. They crossed the road to the yard. "What do you t hink of Craig?" Dutton asked. "He's great," said Danny. "Will there be football practice this afternoon?" Ralph n odded. "Want t o go over?" Danny's r eply was emphatic. "You just bet I do." A t dinner the boy from Westbrook saw Donald Ba ggs. The 'Varsity center nodded shortly, and then stared as though he could not understand how Danny had come to trounce him. Later Danny and Ralph wen t across to the athletic field in front of the gym, and there Danny had his first glimpse of r ea l athletics. Off at one end of the field was a dummy on a cable. At another end was t he baseball dia mond. Then there was the running track, and vaulting standards, t oo. There was the place where the jumpers worked, and the place from where other fellows flirted with the hammer and the shot. Everything seemed to be in its place; 48


A LEITER FROM HOME and fellows who trotted about the cinder track rarely got in the way of the two groups of bo y s who were working with footballs. Ralph explained that one group was the senior class team, and that the other group were the Juniors. Substitutes of both teams trail ed along in the wake of the plays as each team ran through its own signal drill. At first Danny, on the side line, followed the juniors. S oon, however, he dropped away and attached himself to tb.e senior class outfit. Crai g hurried past him. "Thought you were watching the juniors," said the coach "These fellows seem to go smoother," Danny answered. The coach paused a moment. "You never played football?" "Not this way." Craig went on. "Brains," he muttered again. 1'That chap will stand watching." Danny, unaware of the coach's thoughts, tramped b ack and forth with the plays. Truly this was vastly diff e re n t from anything he had ever seen. He was accustomed to a sport in 49


DANNY FISTS which one man ran with the ball and al most everybody else took a hand in the tackle. Here, though, w as some t hin g that looked like a milit a ry drill. There was a general air of traine d d iscipline As the ball w as s napp e d every b oy seemed to g o to his appoint ed place. The re wa s no con fusion. No play e r stumbled ov e r ano the r player Speedily Danny's imagination was fired. Be fore the afternoon was over he was e a ger to get into the game. "Think I c a n play to-morrow?" he a s ked Ralph. "Maybe." Ralph grinned. "Want to captain the freshman t eam?" Danny flushed. "Is-is there so much to l earn ?11 "Wait until you start," said Ralph, wisely. "It took me two weeks to learn to tack l e correctly with my right shoulder, and then I had to l earn how to do it with my left." Danny stared across the field at the dummy. After a while h e walked across and ga v e it a clos er inspection. It appeared t o be an easy j ob to lu nge into the figure and yank i t down 50 ll


A LEITER FROM HOME "Ral p h 's st ringing me," he d ecide d When t he prac t ice e n d e d, h e follo we d t h e p l ayers b a ck t o t h e gym T he re w i t h strang e thri lls ru nn in g up and down his b ack, he wa tch e d the m st ri p, ta k e their s ho we rs, and c o m e forth to a rubb e r m at, on which they stood for a mom e n t while the wate r dra ined fro m th eir bodies S c enes \ s uc h as t h i s had been descr i b e d in books he h a d read; n ow h e w as li v ing w h a t b efore this had b e e n me rel y fic tion The p l aye rs ta l ke d as t hey dre ssed, a nd Danny li s t ened wit h ea g e r e ars D uring t he next thirt y m inutes he came to know that as ide from t he class t eams there was a 'Varsi ty organ izati o n a nd tha t C r a ig hand l e d all th ese g rou ps E a c h class t e am had a c apta i n an d e a ch c ap tai n received h e lp from assis t a n t c oaches, t he a ssistan t c o ache s in the main b eing 'Varsi t y p l aye rs Twic e a week ea c h c apta in r eport ed t o C ra i g If a b oy was injure d, Dr. M cDonald a n d C r aig speedily lo oke d him ove r, and th e y d e c ided w h en h e c ou l d aga in play Everythin g w as system T h e h ou r s we re so arranged that t he c ass t e ams in practic e d i d no t 51


/ DANNY FISTS interfere with each other or with the 'Va rsity, and no team's practice was allowed to conflict with its studi es. Thus the re was no c o nflict b e tween the school a uth o riti e s and the c oach. All these t hing s led Danny t o b elieve t ha t Cra i g was a w onderful person. Late r, a s D a nny c a me to kn o w that C ra ig h a d an uncanny t a l e nt for remembering nam e s and faces and indi v idual pe culi a riti es, h e c a m e to re a lize why different f ellows, after a f ew minut e s' talk with the coa ch, were willing to w ager that Craig had b e en watch ing their speci a l form of play e v ery d a y for w e eks. For Cra ig, in his own line, w a s a genius. Danny and Ralph were the la s t boys to leave the gym. Sl o wly the y walked to the yard. D a nny strode along with his fists dug de e p into his, p o ckets. "Worryin g ?" a sk ed R a lph. D a n ny n o dd e d. Abo ut t hat fig ht. I'm just ge t t i ng to like Manor Hall, and I want t o p l a y football h e re, and a ll t ha t. A n d i f my mothe r t h i nks I've made a bad start here getti ng i nto that scr ap-"


A LETTER FROM HOME "Afraid you'd have to quit here?" Dutton asked, breathlessly. "Y-yes." ''Phew!" R a lph whistled incred ulo usly. "That would be to ugh, wouldn't it?" "It would. Danny stretched out his arms an drew the m rn "Wonder ho w it fee o ta -e a fell ow a him like a l og. S upper, :?t "gh wasn t any too chee rful a meal for the reshm:m. a "' would not start for two days more an there was nothing to confine him to his room. Yet he wen t th er e after leaving the dining hall and tried to find interest in a tale that reeked of pirate gold But pirate gold was tame compared to football, and Danny finally tossed the book aside. Ten o'clock came at last, and he went to bed. Ralph slipped into the room a moment later. "In bed?" he gasped. "I was away down the road when I heard the bell. I had to run like sixty." Danny tossed restlessly. "Wish I could get out for a run. I'd feel like sleeping." However, slumber came speedily, and it was 53


D ANNY FISTS d aylight when he awok e Ralph was not i n the room. Danny's watch t old him that i t was halfpas t s even. He was a l mo st d ressed when Dutton hurried i n H e re's a letter," h e c r i e d "Mayb e it' s about the fight D anny r e c ogn ized his father's han dwriting With trembli n g fin ge rs h e b roke t he seal. He read the l e t te r aloud: M Y D E A R SoN: Y our m o t her h a s turne d your l et t e r o ve r to me To p ick a fight i s o n e thi n g ; t o s t a n d up for your o w n s e lfr e s p e c t is a n o t he r t h in g The Rev ol u tion w a s a fig h t, but it w a s t he r igh t k i n d of fight. A n y time I h ear of y o u p ick ing a qu a rrel there' s goi n g t o be fif t y -seven k i n d s of troubl e and I'll be th e trouble m aker. Tha t doesn t m ea n, th o u gh, th a t you m u s t let a n y f ellow walk up a nd d ow n y our b a ck. B e cl e J!!!J yourself, but, if t he o t h e r f e llo w t ries t o rub mud unde r your n o s e pil e into h i m. You R LovING F ATHER P. S.-I'm g l a d you wo n. S ay," said R a lph, "th at's som e le tte r, i sn't it?" D a n ny n odded "I be t h e s a i d, softl y "I b e t w h e n m y d a d w a s a boy h e was a r egu l a r


CHAPTER IV: I HOT BLOOD THAT night Danny sat long with Ralph and discussed the things he would need to play the ga.me. R a lph told him that he had petter buy pants, a jacket, a belt, shoes and a nose-guard. Danny found a sporting goods catalog in the drawer of his study table, left there, probably, by the boys who had the room the year before. He figured over this a long while. "Here's the list," he called to Ralph. "Pants, $2.00; canvas jacket, $ r.oo; elastic belt, $ r.oo; shoes, $2. 50, and nose-guard, half-a-dollar." "Rats!" scoffed Dutton. "Three dollars for the shoes and the nose-guard is all right, but buy the other things from some of the fellows who have them to spare. You ought to get the pants, and the jacket, and the belt for $ r .oo." "That's $4.00 all told," Danny announced. "Unless you need a jersey." 55


DANNY FISTS But Danny had two jerseys. Next morning he went forth in search of football bargains, and before ten o'clock he had landed a pair of pants in good condition, a canvas jacket that could have been worse, and a belt that still was able to snuggle close to the body and to stay there. The en tire outfit had cos t him $1.25. Long before it was time for him to go to the field Danny was out in uniform He thought he looked quite sturdy and important in his togs, but to-day the Varsity was out for preliminary prac ti ce, and nobody paid any attention to him. He 1rnw Baggs, but Baggs pretended not to see him. Craig was there, too, and after a while a 'Varsity make sh if.t eleven and a team formed o f com bin ed seniors and juniors was given the field. Danny watched every play with deep int e rest Presently Craig came down and stood beside thi s strange boy wh o seemed able to smell out the big things of football. "Well," the coach asked with a smile, "what do you think of it?" "It doesn't seem right," said Danny. Even though Craig knew of Danny's inexper i-5 6


HOT BLOOP ence in the game, he knew too, that here was a fresh pair of eyes. And wily Craig was willing to look at things through any eyes that offered in the hopes of bettering his teams "What doesn't seem right?" he asked The play was over near their side of the field. A 'Varsity tackle broke through, found that the play was switching across to the other side of the cen ter, and promptly lost interest and slowed up. "That," said Danny. "If that man on the right had chased that other ch ap all the way around, he wouldn't have had any time to dod g e when he got to t he other side." It was poorly expressed, but Craig understood. "Correct,'' said the coach. "That's something I've never been able to teach some play e rs. If a tackle, when he goes through, finds that the play is going around the other side, and if he gets after the m an w ith the ball hot, that m an has no time to do dge anybody The minute he slows up the purs ui ng tackle catches him from behind." Danny nodded. "That's the idea of team pl ay,'' continued 57


DANNY FISTS Craig, gravely. "As soon as a m a n ge ts the i de a of team play he begins to learn foot ba ll." Unconsciously, Danny took a d e eper breath. He had an idea of team play. Then he mu s t have already learned much about the game Boys that Danny recognized a s freshmen be gan to come out to the field. The boy from Westbrook had an idea that Craig w ould explain things to them for a few minut es, and that they would then be lined up somehow and sent at some other team the sophomores, perhaps. The thought made Danny hot with determination and confidence He would run yards and yards through the team, and no boy with the ball would get past him. Two o'clock came Later the school clock chimed the half-hour. Craig and a boy talked at length, and presently separated. The boy made a megaphone of his hands: "Freshmen down to the end of the field!" Danny went along with the others. H e l earned that the chap who had called was Tal mage c a p tain of the 'Varsity. At the field e nd wa s the dummy figure of a man running on a c able before 58


HOT BLOOD two uprights. Under the figure was plenty of loose sand. Talmage explained briefly the principles of tackling. Then the freshmen went at the figure. A t last Danny's turn came. He dove in with plenty of confidence, but in stea d of bringing the figure down, he pushed it along in front of him, and cam e to his feet feeling that half the sand in the place was up his sleeves, and down his throat, and under his jacket. "Harder," said Talmage. "Harder and lower." The next time Danny and the figure had the time of the'ir lives-bu t th e figure came down. A dozen tim es each boy took a crack at the dummy. Then the s quad were spread out in a half-circle. Talmage rolled and bounded a foot ball toward them and away from them, and boy I after boy f ell on it with grunts, and gasps, and sighs. Danny seemed to take a bit naturally to t his ; and though he did not snare the ball 'first few times, neither did he rasp and jar his body as so many of the others did. He had the .righ t id ea anyway. T im e after time Talmage explained wearily how th ey should pocket the ball 59


DANNY F I STS so that it could not ge t a way from them. The Varsity capt ain ende d the afternoon wit h a dem onstra tion on the dummy, shooting in low, and h ard, and bringing the image down with a sna p Danny-the sanie Danny who had expecte d to ru n yards and yards through the opposing team went ba ck to the gym with his class-mates He be ga n to see faintly what discipline and hard work meant. Long before he finished dressing he cam e to reali ze that it was this very thorough ness in beginning at the bottom that made Craig such a good coach Tha t night he bought the books he would nee d in his first school year. In the v i llage bookshop his eyes chanced on a little volume ori the subjec t of footb all Eagerly t he boy bought the c opy Back i n his room he read it with d eep attention Better s till, he remembered what he had read. He went to bed that n ight w ith a vast amount of r espect for a game that had once looked to him to be merely a w restle on a l arge scale. Next d ay class room work started. Danny found the instructors to b e cheery, hearty men, all cut som ewha t on the pattern of Dr. Wilmer 60


HOT BLOOD himsel f He was sure t ha t he would get along famously at Manor Hall-provided he met few f ellows l ike Donald Baggs He was sure that Baggs di s liked him. That afternoon he went back to the field Once more the freshmen assaulted th e dummy, and scrambled, and rolled, and twi sted after the ball. Danny saw, after this second d ay, that he and the others might be kept at t his form of work fo r a lo ng tim e That night, after his studies were finish ed he questioned Ralph. "How long will they keep us down there a t the end of the field?" he asked "Until you learn how to tackle and to fall on the ball," was the answer. "How long will 'that be?" Danny persisted "Three' or four days for some fellows," D utton grinned. All sea son for the others." Three or four days! That meant that to-mor row, maybe, some of the freshmen would graduate to higher football Next day one boy left t he realm of the b e ginne rs His name was Cross, and he had come to Manor Hall from a city where he had pl a yed 61


DANNY FISTS in a public school league. The follo wing d ay five fellows advanced, and Danny was one of the five. Twenty-four hours l a t e r s even more freshmen left the ranks of th e rookies. Craig and a group of 'Varsity f e llows survey ed the group. Later Craig cam e over and told ea c h boy where he would play-a mong the forwards or among th e backs. Danny found himself cast for end He had read somewher e in the football b oo k tha t the end s were pretty important gentlemen, so his fighting soul was satisfied. He wo uld be in the thick of things, anyway. He thoroughly expected that there wo uld be a game next d ay ; but when he and the others c a me out, a group of 'Varsity f e ll ow s fell upon t hem and hu stled them off for practice such as Danny had neve r before s een. He and another end we re chased down the field after kicks-again, a ga in, again. Once Danny lo oke d around and saw a center, a quarte rback and three back-field f e llows getting th eir share of practice p assing th e b all. Along toward the clos e of the afternoon thr ee more fresh men graduated from the d u mm y and the sand. 62


HOT BLOOD "You fellows," Craig advised "had b ette r ge t together and elect a team captain." Half an hour later the freshmen cro wded together in a corner of the locker room. A voice nominated Cros s Another voice nam ed Phipps But Danny had sense enough to kn ow that it was his fight with Baggs that had brought about his nom ination, not his football showing He de clined the honor, and Cross was then elected without opposition. "Now, fellows, said Cros s "I'm going to get together some signals. I'll write them out, and I'll give out cop ies to-morrow. We ough t t o be gin to get together as an eleven in a couple of days." But it was the following week before the freshmen presented a solid front. Even then the work was raw and uncertain. And then came the day when the bulletin board in the gym carried this announcement in scrawly chalk : TO-MORROW JUNIORS VS. FRESHMEN GAME CALLED 3 :30


DANNY FISTS Danny, leav i ng his last class n ext afternoon, raced breathlessly for the gym The c ompetit ive soul in his sturdy body l onged for the fray. Tackli n g the dummy and falling on the ball had been all ri ght at first, and sig nals drill s had been all right l ater. Bu t th is-W ell, t hi s w a s differ e n t This was football. Every nerve in D a nny's bo d y ju mp ed as he t oo k his place at end It is i m p ossib le to i m agine any po s ition on the football field whe r e e x p er ience and know l edge of t he game is m o re vit al than ou t at the wings where the ends st an d as t h e l a st r e so .rt. If an oppo s ing run ne r succee d s in circling them t here is al w ays the cha nce for a lo ng run. Other positions in the line are backed by rese r ve playe r s ; but the end is out th e re b y him self. He m u st keep his h ead, his wits an d hi s f ee t and his tackl e s must be actions of deadly certain ty Y et Danny felt no qualms as h e went to his place His fingers itc hed to get h old of an oppos ing runn er ; excitement tingl e d all his ne rves. His time had come! H i s side kic ed T he other end got the man who cau ght the b all. T he n came Danny's first scri mmage 6 4


HOT BLOOD The ball was snapped back. A back, guarded by one interferer, came circli ng out toward D anny went in quickly to meet the invader. The interferer shot his bolt too soon and missed. Danny brought the runner down with a hard, clean tackle. He was up in a second. A feeling of t riumph. came over him. W hy, t his was easy I He would show them that nobody could get around his end. He didn't see why anybody should ever miss a tackle. He was willing to bet right then and there that the juniors wou l dn' t try his end again for a l ong time. His lo gic seemed to be right, for the next few plays went at the center or a t the other side of the lin e The freshmen held stou tly after the first few minutes The junior full dropped back as though to punt "Here," muttered D anny, joyfully, "is where I block that kick. He measured the distance carefully The mothe ball was snapped he charged at the full back Suddenly he saw that this wasn't to be a kick after all. W ith his heart in his throat he 65


DANNY FISTS t r i e d t o check h i s spe e d ; but the full b a ck side s t ep p ed hi m A m o ment l a t e r t he m an w ith the ball h a d circled t he ung uarded end Twe n ty-fiv e ya r ds he wen t The n a n opp os ing b a c k g o t o ve r to t h e s i de and brou gh t hi m d own. D anny ch ok i ng ove r s o m ethi ng that seeme d to bloc k his throat, r a n back afte r t he b a ll H e t ook hi s place i n the line agai n "Don' t g e t p ull ed in li k e that, Cros s warned, sharply. "Ta ke care of that e n d and d on't l e t h i m get arou nd you." Dan ny flushed h otly D o w n in hi s heart h e deci de d t hat h e wo uld no t all ow him self to b e c aught tha t w ay agai n Presently h i s side g o t the ball. Not l ong afterwards C ro ss k i cked D a nny r a c e d a way. The k i ck w a s on h i s s i de of t he fiel d He made s t rai ght for t h e b oy w h o waited for t he l eather with eage r a rm s Danny was six yards fro m th e b ack when th e l atte r caugh t the o val. Now, a n exper i enc e d e n d wou l d have s low e d up a n d have m ade sure of hi s man. Dann y a las, w as n o t a n experienced en d Forward h e raced his one thought t h a t t he runn e r m u st not make 66


HOT BLOOD a yard. The back gave just the slightest twist, and Danny shot past1 him on his flying tackle and buried his face in the ground. The runner started up the field. Ten yards he went. Then the tackle who had followed Danny down dropped him hard. "Don't over-run your man," ordered the fresh man captain Danny, shamefaced, went back to his position. Now his thought was he must do something to redeem himself. It was an unfortunate frame of mind for the boy, for his very eagerness caused his next blunder. The ball went to the junior halfback on Danny's side, who started for the other end. He made slo w work of it. Feeling that he could overtake this clumsy fell ow, Danny went sailing after him H e wa s almost on him when the ner tossed the ba ll to the other half, who had circled the o th e r way. Danny tried in vain to stop himself; a nd for the second time that after noon a back r ace d around his unguarded wing. He had fall e n fo r a cleverly executed criss-cross. That was the end of Danny. Craig ordered 67


DANNY FISTS him to the side lines without c e r emo ny, and there he r emaine d the rest of the afternoon Baggs was among the spectators, a nd Danny thought that Baggs grinned. Bu t the s i de line pr-0ved a good place for t he boy, for th ough his thoughts turned bitter, th e less, he thoug h t He r emembered how t en minutes before, with his first tackle he conside r e d himself about ripe for the 'Varsity. Now h e realized that it would be some time before h e could hope for a permanent place on even the freshman team. The game had sudden ly bec ome a mysterious problem Yet he formed a firm res olve that he would learn a nd with his fists clutched, he concentrated every bit of his atten tion on the plays The next day e again chummed with the side lin e The fre s hmen had only a signal drill that afternoon, and the fellow who held Danny's place seeme d to be hopeless. Danny felt humiliated To\ ard the close of the d ay he go t five m inutes i n t line -up. Crai g and Talm a ge, the 'Varsity captain had wa tch ed part o f the work. Danny set out to show them that he w as the only chap 68


HOT BLOOD among the freshmen who had any license to be at right end. "Not. so fast," call ed Craig, dryly. "Speed tripped you yesterday." Danny came back to earth. Next afternoon he was back at his place. A week later the freshmen went out against the sophomores. By this time Danny had learned a great deal, for there is nothing like the side line to quicken a player's observation and to make him feel that he doesn't know it all. The game ended as a 6 to 6 tie, and Danny's performance was creditable. He was too wise, this time, to be drawn in on fake kicks, and he had come to know that, in running down a punt, he could not go into his man full tilt. Three days later his team played the seniors. Once more Danny started the game. But, now, unfortunately, his t_;ver-bubbling spirits splashed over, and his temporary success went to his head. 'ifhe seniors, apparently, had selected him as the weak spot. Play after play came his way. He was lightning fast on his feet, and several 69


DANNY 'FISTS times only his agility saved him. Then, suddenly, the seniors started a shift play. Now, the higher forms of football were as Greek to Danny. The shift play was new to him, for up to that time all the teams had been play ing an evenly balanced line. On a signal the tackle shifted over. The back-field man came up almost behind the end. Danny began to have an uncomfortable feeling that was more from in tuition than from anything else, for he had not yet come to the point where experience taught him that it was a mighty disagreeable thing for an end on defense to have a man outside him. "All these chaps against me," he muttered. He wondered if any fellows on his side were prepared to dash over and support him. He fidgeted around somewhat, but he didn't dare go out very far, for he saw that he would have to get past the back-field man in order to r each the runner. The play started. It swung out toward his end. senior end sneaked in and bumped Danny. The back cut him across the l egs with his shoul der. The runner got by. 70


HOT BLOOD Danny's t e mp e r -that treacherous temper that had brought his father's warning wa rmed "vVhy don't the whole eleven come at me?" he growled. He went to his place. The seniors, on signal, lined up the sam e w ay. When the play started, Danny succeed e d in keeping off the end with his. hand. The h a lfback, ho w e ver, shouldered him, and Danny h a d to l e an far over that boy to reach the runner B y great good luck his fingers caught and held d e sp e rately. "That's the boy," called Cross, his captain "Break it up." Danny, however, realized that it was only luck that had saved him. He was at a loss how to meet the play, but he was not one of the kind to stand still a nd bite his fingers. He thought he saw a way to check the drive. And all th e w h ile the temper that was his flared more and more. Once mo r e c a me that shift. Then, as the play started, D anny dod g ed, and avoided the end. I "Box me, w ill you?" he grunted. He leap e d by the back-field man. "Go it, D a nny," yelled a voice from the lines 71


DANNY FISTS That was jus t what Danny meant to do. He'd show them whether they'd pick him for the goat and chase a whole eleven at him He made for the runner. A n d t h en the interferer crossed, and h e f elt h i mself bein g borne out. Danny did not m ean to foul. But the t emper that his father understood h a d not yet l ea rned discipline Be fore he thought he had s t ruck the interferer in the face A whistle sounded. The play died away in a confused scatterin_g. On the side lines there was s i lence among the sp e ctators. "Out!" cam e Craig's voice, sharp ly. Danny glanc e d toward the line He saw the coac h 's arm jerk. "Out! You Phipps Out!" Ther e was a strange silence on the field, too Danny a l most ready t o c r y walked toward the line. I I fo rgot," he faltered. Craig turned away w ithout a word. The coach call e d to the substitute freshmen, and a boy raced out to Danny s place The elevens b ega n to form scrimmage lin es again lis tl essly, withou t heart, 72


HOT BLOOD as though the snap and the tang was gone from the 1day. Suddenly Danny walked out on the field from which he had just been exiled. Did he mean fight? "Here, Phipps," Craig yelled, "come out of that." But Danny walked straight to the boy he had struck. He held out his hand. "I'm sorry," he said, steadily. "I didn't mean to do that. I lost my head." The interfere r grinned and gripped his hand. "Forget it, old man. It wa s pretty shabby keep ing a shift working on a green man, anyway." Danny came back to the line. His action seemed to have put spice back into things. Chatter and laughter broke out again. The boy looked at Craig. The coach 's face seemed less stern. "Good boy, Danny," whispered a soft voice. Danny kne w that from some place behind him Dutton had c alled But words c ouldn't che :r him now. He had disgraced himself. He had played foul ball. Hi temper had ruled him. He seem e d to hear his 73


DANNY FISTS father saymg, "If Manor H a ll t e ach e s you to keep a grip on your s elf I w o n t worry much a bo ut anything else." "I will get a grip on m y self," Danny vowed, miserably. "I will. I will."


CHAPTER V TO THE 'v .ARSITY ANNY longed for the seclusion of the locker room, but something told him that to go there now would be like running away. So, though it was agony for him to stay, he kept his place on the side line. When the game ended in a sophomore victory, the play ers scampered for the gym. Danny followed after them. "Phipps!" C _raig called. "Wait a minute." "Here's where Danny catches it," ran a whisper through the students. Danny, too, thought that he was in for a bad half-hour with the coach. But Craig, when they were alone, spoke to him in a voice that was strangely gentle How was Danny to know that the man's heart had gone out to him when he had stalked forth with an apology to the boy he had bit? 75 ..


DANNY FISTS "I d o n t blame you so very much," Craig b e g an; "but yo u mustn't l e t a thing like tha t happen a gain I saw you were getting pretty hot, and I had an i dea you would lose your head. That's your speci a lty, isn't it?" "Losing my head?" Danny asked. Craig nodded. Danny colored "I-I guess it is." "That's bad," the coach exp l ai n e d. "Remember this : In football the man who loses his head is don e If h e can't keep his temper he is better off on the sid e li nes th an on the field In the first place, for what you did this afternoon you would be disqualifi ed and your team would l ose half the distance to the goal line." "I-I didn't think of that, Danny stammered. Craig glanced at him sharply. "Oh I've been reading the rule s," Danny explained hastily "I know the penalties." "But the loss of half the d istance i sn't the wors t of it," sai d Craig. Danny'.s eyes flashed a question "Some-some new rule?" he asked with stamme r ing hes itati on "No," the coach answered ; "a very ld rule-76


TO THE 'VARSITY the ru l e of fair play When you go into a game play as hard as you like, bu t play fair and square under the rules That's your understanding with the man you're playing against. You look at him and he looks at you, and your eyes say to each other: 'We are each ready to take what is coming to us ; but if you are a white man and if I am a white man we are going to play according to our understanding of what is straight.' Now, do you get me on that?" "Yes," answered Danny in a low voice The coach's words had sent a hot thrill through his young body Good !" Craig's voice expressed satisfaction. "I guess we're coming on The next t hing i s this: If you allow yourself to get mad enough to forget t.e rules, yo u a r e at th e same time going to fo rget a lot of other things we want you to remember No amount of practice, of study of experience will make up for that. Can you see that?" Danny nodded. Craig was showing him foot ball as he had never before seen it. "What happened to you this afternoon," the coach went on, "happens to lots of ends when their 77


DANN Y FISTS t a ckles don't help them out a s t hey sh o u l d. Y o u were doing about all yo u c o uld do t o that play." D a nny g a s ped. "I tho ught they wer e m akin g a monk ey of me "The y weren't," said Crai g sharply. "The re -are a f ew things I could t e ll yo u that would help but the ma in t hing is that you r tackle should ha v e m a d e it li ve li e r for the m whe n h e broke t h ro ug h. Tha t w o uld have gi v en yo u m o r e of a chance." D a nny b egan to feel a bi t m ore s a tisfie d w i th himself Then Craig droppe d hi m off his perch of s elfsati s faction "This is not e x cusin g you," the co ac h said, griml y "Temper is t e m pe r e ve ry m i nute of the game. Whether the t ack l e h e l ps y ou or not i t is your job to r e m ember that y ou must get that run n e r and not ge t box e d I'll t e ll yo u ho w to h a n d l e a play lik e t h a t When yo u s e e i t fo r m ing d on't t a ke po s iti o n on t he line and j ust stand the re li k e a po st Don't let t hem locate you. W h e n you find t h e extra man ou t there keep mov i n g eve ry minut e Sh ift a step or two he r e ; "then a step or tw o t here Keep on side and be 7 8


TO THE 'VARSITY rea dy When you move, the men who are going to take care of you h ave to move, too." The directions were so amazi ngly simple that D anny wondered why he hadn't thought to do just that. "If you can," Craig added, "get t hem to betray their direction. Meantime, always remember first and last that on defense you can use you r hands and arms and that the me n who are interfering with you cannot. You ought to b e able to pu s h a m a n ou t of the way so tha t yo u can ge t by him; and if you have t wo men to dea l with there is a ll the more reason why you should use your hands. Think th a t over. But r emembe r, usin g your hands doesn't mean t emper and it d oesn't mean striking. ')Vhen you foul, the whole J team suffers." They had reached the gym. From within came the crash and rattle of r ough horse -play "I'll remembe r th at,'' Danny promised "Good!" said Craig, and passed into the build ing. And in that in stan t it suddenly dawned on Danny that th ough Craig had been kind to him the coach had not told him that his place at end 79


DANNY FISTS would be waiting for him when he came out on the morrow. The locker room treated Danny as though nothing had ha ppe ned His manliness, as Craig could have told him, had "squared things." The boy from Westbrook, ho weve r, found little pleas ure in the atmosphe re of good will He walked b ack to the dormitory buildi ng with Dutton. Ralph tried to sympathize, but he found Danny strangely silent "Worried?" Ralph asked. D anny nodded. Dutton pressed his arm. "Everything'll come out all right. Put a good supper under your belt, and you'll feel better." The meal, however, did not lighten Danny's mind When he tramped up to his room that night he was more serious than he had ever been before. As a rule, his feeling s were clean cut ei ther perfect content and satisfaction with him self or else blind r age with somebody else Danny, of a certainty, "saw red" every time his t emper flared. He was usually 111 such deadly 80


TO THE 'VARSITY earnest that he could see but one side of a ques tion, and that was his own side But, though quick of temper, Danny was also quick to have anything that troubled him out and over with. That was one of the tra its that had always pleased his father. Whenever Danny got into a scrape that meant punishment, he was al ways ready, as Mr. Phipps said, to "step up to t h e capta in's office and settl e As soon as the punishment was inHicted and ov e r with, Danny c onsidered the incident closed To-night, though, presented an incident that would n o t close He had broke n a couple of ribs of the football law. He could not take the pun ishment to himself and have done with it. The othe r t e n boys of his team to suffer. His spirit rebelled at the tho ught of rules that made t e n others suffer for his act. Yet the rules were there, and were not likely to be changed. He alone had hit the interferer. He alone wanted to take the pun i shment. Yet the rules said half the distance to the goal line. Danny sighed mis erably The fact tha t he could not t a ke all the punish -81


I DANNY FISTS m ent to hims elf fill e d h im w i th acut e r emorse He fidgete d around the room Later he w en t t o b ed and t os s e d a n d t u rn e d un a b l e t o sle e p A ll thi s was e n tirely n e w t o the bo y Here tofo r e the pu n ishm e nt had b ee n bris k a n d s ummary and a ft e r that his mi nd and hi s c o n scie nc e had kn own peace And, l y i ng there o n a sleeples s p i llow Danny's t houghts went b ac k to wh a t Craig h a d told h im The b oy wa s quick t o s ee a po in t and he a d m i tte d to himself th a t Cra i g was r ight. S t ill thin k i ng h e d r opped i nto unea s y sleep and awok e s om e ti me l a t e r w i t h his pro bl e m s till be fore him. Once m o re h e dozed. D aybreak found him out of b ed. S eve r a l hours later he sat down to a d e ject e d breakfast. On his wa y out of the dinin g h a ll the so lu tion of the prob l e m c a m e to him. If p l ay in g of yes t erda y 's t yp e w as ba d, the o nl y th i ng t o do wa s t o s t op it. First he would p romise h imself t o pl a y clean; t he n h e w o ul d promi se C r a ig ; t h e n he would keep b oth pro mis es T his d ecis i o n lift ed a load from h i s mi nd. A littl e l ate r in the mo rnin g he met the c oach. 82


' TO THE 'VARSITY "I've be e n t h i n k i ng o ve r what you sai d y e st e rday," he began Cra ig's sh a rp g l ance took in the shadows under the boy's eyes. "Didn't sleep mu c h last night, did y ou?" "No. I was thinking. I was dead wrong, and I'm going to cut that sort of thing out. You can bank on it." Cra ig knew sincerity when he met it. "I'm glad, Danny," he said. "I think you have t h e makings of a good football player. But you must learn s e lf-control." The school bell rang. Danny mo ve d off to classes. And still no word from Cra ig as to Danny's fate w ith the freshman t e am. Y et Danny whis tl e d a bit of song as h e trotte d across the y a r d His m in d w as at ease, a ny way and that cou n t e d for ml,lch. That a fte rnoon, though, Danny got a slice of the freshma n t eam 's sig nal practic e A f ter that, each day saw h i m in for a bit more of the practic e He played t hrou g h t w o quarte rs of a game betw een the fre s hmen and t h e senio rs an d dur ing t hat struggle i t d aw n e d on him t hat Craig 83


DANNY FISTS \ had been watching him intently. Likew i se it occurred to him that h e had made a mess of t wo or three plays. After the game when he saw Craig coming to ward him, he tri e d to l ose h i m self in the cro wd But the c oa ch 's hand t appe d his shoulder and drew him aside. "I've been studying over your case," t h e man said abruptly. "The y jock ey e d you once o r twice to-day, but you were trying all the t ime You have a head. I'm going to ha ve Cross give you a try at quarter. "Quarter ?" Danny question e d, as though he had not heard aright. "Quarter," Craig r epea t e d To-day the coach seemed to have a trouble or two on his mind that made his speech abrupt. "If you can hold your temper, it's on l y a question of learnin g to han dle the ball. "I've been pretty rotten a t end," Danny sigh e d. "I've seen worse," C rai g s a id indiff e rently. "How about that t e m per? Can you hold it?" D anny's fighting jaw squar e d "I'll hold it or break it," he answere d doggedly. 84


TO THE 'VARSITY Craig forgot his coaching troubles long enough to smile. "That's the spirit," he encouraged; "go to it." A moment later he was off to the other end of the field to diagnose another football disease. Quarter! It seemed to Danny too good to be true. Was it possible that he, after his several failures, was to go out as field general of the freshmen? He raced back to No. 5 2 after the practice, and breathlessly told Dutton the good news. Ralph kicked up his heels with delight. "Craig isn't interested much in you this year," he explained; "he's trying to develop you for next year and the two years after that. You see, this is your first trial at football. I bet he gets you out for spring practice, and next fall you'll make the 'Vars ity sure." Danny grinned "Wouldn't that be fine?" Then his tace sobered. "How are you coming with the sophomore team?" "Punk!" said Dutton cheerfully. "Football isn't my game. I'm not worrying. Wait until 85


DANNY FISTS baseball starts. Then I'll show you how to play behind the bat." "Are you the 'Varsity catcher?" Danny gasped. "Made the team my freshman year," R alph boasted with hone st pride. "It's t h e onl y game I can play. I'm a slouch at everything el s e." Danny, though, thought that b eing the 'Varsity catcher was plenty honor enou g h for one boy. Yet .deep down in his heart he was glad that if he won his letter at all it would be in foot ball. For Danny and football were becoming greater friends each day. Next afternon he got his first try at quarter on his class team. Cross coached him for a while, and later Chapman, the 'Varsity quarter, came over and gave patient instruction. Danny, every sense alert and boyishly ali ve, dra nk in every word of the advice. His activ e lit tl e bra in settled down w ith its usual concentrati o n on the thing in hand. The result was that he l earned quickly, and also managed to hold what he had learned. He had a knack with his hands that enabl ed him to get the b a ll cleverly from the cen-86


.TO THE 'VARSITY ter. Aside from that, he was quick in his mo tions, and soon he learned h e w to pass so that the backs took the ball with comparati ve ease. Craig came over one day, stood watching for a while, and quietly withdrew. But Craig, though he said nothing, was satisfied. Danny showed promise-great promise. Then, too, as quarter, Danny began to get closer and closer to Cross, the team captain. Cross had football ability and brains, and an abundance of fast, seasoned back-field ma terial was all that kept him from the 'Varsity. To Cross Danny went when his first football problem arose. The te a m had a set of signals that the quarter realized bothered some of the players. As far as he was concerned, he had mastered them without much difficulty because of his intense pow er of concentration. Always in practice, though, there were times when the signal was missed. For this reason Danny set to work devising some system that, even though it might run the risk of b e ing r ecogn ized by an opponent, would not mystify the men who were supposed to unde r-87


DANNY FISTS stand it. He started to remodel the s ig nals along the simplest lines. Each play was give n a single number, such as 1, 2, 3, 4 and so fo rth. At this point Danny went to Cross. The cap tain li stened intently. After a moment he stole a glance at D an ny. "Have you paid any attention to Chapman's work with the 'Varsit y? he asked. Danny shook his head. "No." Cross whistled thoughtfully. "The thing I like about you," he said prese ntly, "is the fact that your head i sn't swelled. Go ahea d with those signals. The plan is good." So Danny, next afternon, to o k t h e t eam aside for a secret practice. The ne w signals were given out. Soon the players were working them smoothly and well. Then D a nny starte d work to devise a m ethod that would di sgu i se the sim plicity of the signals. Key numb e rs came to the qu arte r's aid. The key number always ended with a 3, as 23, 43, 53, etc. The number th a t followed the key number was the signal for the play. In practice the idea worked well. 88

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TO THE 'VARSITY Ke e p go i ng, s a id C ross. "You'll h ave this team gi v i n g t hem all a fight." Dan ny flushe d with pleasure a n d tra m p e d off to the g ym. Tha t n igh t he ca m e to t he c a p ta in' s room A n o t he r s i gna l shift, h e sa i d "It' s go in g to b e too o pen u s ing numbe r s l ik e 1, 21 3 an d .f. Let' s d o u b l e the m Afte r the key numb e r c omes l e t us u s e doub l e nu m be r s T his way : Play I i s a n end run by r ight ha lf. We cou l d have 121 1 81 19 or 13 m e an t he sa m e p lay. "Le t's s ee," said C ross th oughtfull y Y ou me an that the fir s t figure afte r a key num b e r, t he 1 r say, would be t he r ea l sig nal, and that th e 8 or the 9 wo uld b e a b lind. In o ther word s w h e re y ou n ow call 2 for a l ef t-h alf d r i v e b e tween guard a nd tack l e yo u w ou l d ca ll 2 1 or 231 or 2 9 ? "That's i t," s a i d Danny. F i ne !" cri ed Cro s s emph a tica ll y "Now we're ready fo r th e b e st o f them." D an ny, though though t th a t the captai n ov e r rate d t he team's ch ances. T w o ,days l a t e r wh e n t he j uni o rs d efea t e d th e freshm e n in a clos e hard 89

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DANNY FISTS game, Cross was bitterly disappointed. Danny, though, was well satisfied. His team, younger and lighter, had held the bigger boys scoreless through three quarters. Danny gave the credit to the team as a whole. Cra ig secretly gave the credit to the team plus its fiery, battling quarter Nor had the coach failed to observe those new signals. However, even though Danny. was satisfied, he was also obser va nt. If the freshmen had had one play out of the ordin ary-just one-that could have been relied on in a pinch for a good sub stantial gain, the t ea m might have tied. He turned this over in his mind a long time. Finally his steps led him to Cross' room once more. "Well," asked the captain with a grin, "what is it this time?" "Suppose," said Danny, "sup pose we h ad a play out of the ordinary; something that would gain for us whenever we ne eded distance Cross pursed his lips. "I've th ought of that. I've tried to dope it out, but it's no go You' re the head on this team. See what you can do." "I'll gi ve it a try," Danny promised. 90

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TO THE 'VARSITY For two or three days the problem proved too much for his eager mind. Then, as the practice slowed down one he saw Lee, a freshman substitute, race down the field. Lee was light-too light to do any effective line plunging and not heavy enough to do any really useful interfering. But Lee had speed. Danny ran troubled fingers through his red, bristling hair. How could he take advantage of that speed? Next morning he saw the way. He wanted something that would conceal the effect of Lee's speed until the ball was actually passed, and Lee was actually on his way. A sequence of two plays, the second to follow the first without signal, solved the difficulty. Next afternoon Danny and Cross conferred in the gym. When the t ea m came out on the field Lee, who had been tried at end before, this because of his speed, was put in as right half. Lee seemed surprised So did some of the t eam. Danny ran the signal drill down to a far end of the field. Then he called a halt. "Here, fellows, he directed, "crowd up. Here's a new play. Let us suppose the ball is

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DANNY FISTS down about fiftee n or t we n ty yards from t he left side l ine You'll g e t t he signal for t he p l ay t o morrow morni ng, but here it is: The ball goes to t he fu ll o n firs t down T h e fuli runs, with such inte rference as can b e furnished from the h alfbacks and the q arte r around his own ri ght t ackle He make s sure, however, not to make too wi d e an end run. Don't forge t that." "'l'! e won't," several voic es cho rused G ood! Instead of running wide he cuts right in a cr oss tackle, a n d makes whatever d istanc e h e c an O n that firs t play, t he l eft e nd comes around t o make tlie p l ay safe from behind M ind that left end? All right. The full i s d ow n. We lin e u p aga i n But the left end stays on the o t he r sid e outside t ackle Before the o the r sid;;: c an t ake stock of the disappeari ng left end, the ball i s snapped back without signal. be fast, fellows Mind that. The play must F ast! The b a ll goes to the r ig h t hal f Lee, here. He swings out wide The regular right e1 d takes ca r e of t he oppos i ng end, and the tackl e and the l eft end co mplete b ox the opposing t ackle See i t ? Lee i s fa st If you fellows ge t in to that s econ d p l a y 92

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TO THE 'VAR S I TY of t he sequenc-:: with -a ba n g Lee will get away for a big gain every time. For a moment the boys figured out the play. Then, bit by oit admira t ion crept in to face after face A .11 ri ght, call ed C ross down this end of the field on us." "Let's t ry it. Stay Don't l e t t hem s p y In p rac tice, t uee or four a t temp tst everythi ng ra:1 smoothly "My r oom to -night,'' Cross orde red. "We'll t alk this thing over. So that night the freshme n team crowded i n t o t he capt a in's quarters Never before had a freshman team been known to have such ardent dis cuss10n. The school wondered wha t it was all about. Craig blinked h i s eyes and smiled If football brains h a d discovered something that made such a meeting a necessity, he thought that he knew who owned the b rains For the next t wo or three afternoons the fres h man team disappeared t o the end of t he fi ld ea c h afternoon. A nd each afternoon Cross came back t o the lock er room w it h a broade r smile 93

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\ DANNY FISTS "How's your team?" Cra i g as ked a f e w d a ys later. Cross wiggled his fing e rs. "Give us a cr a ck at the 'Varsity," he b e g g ed. "To-morrow," said Cra i g and the a nnouncement w ent up on the board. There was an excited m e eti ng of the fre s hman t e am in Cross' room that nig ht. "Do w e work the sequence?" sev e r a l voices demande d. Cros s l oo k e d at Danny. "No," the qu arter answer e d. "We'll save tha t until later-until it's perfecte d. I guess Cra ig thinks we have something up our sle eves. We' ll fool him. We'll play the strai ght game. Then, about a week later, we 'il d e m a nd another cr a ck a t t he V ars i ty, and we'll spri ng our p e pp e r One or two fellows, Lee amo ng th em, l ooke d d i sap p o in te d. "Da nn y 's ri ght," said C ros s N o s c o w ls n ow. H e in ve nt e d that pl ay. Let him decide w h e n to u s e it." So t he freshm e n w e nt into the game that after noon, a nd, much to the dis a ppoin tment o f C r ai g 94

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TO THE 'VARSITY the youn g sters fail e d to "pull" anything new. It wa s straight football, a nd the freshm e n were sl a u gh tered by an o v erwh e l ming s cor e Not unti l th e t w o el evens l i n e d up did D a nny r ealize that Dona ld Baggs wa s th e Va r s ity center and tha t was a chance-just a c hancethat h e B agg s migh t come t o ge t he r b e fore the afte rn oo n wa s o ve r. A nd t hen, inst ea d of avoidin g t ro ubl e h e :went se e king it There was a quarte rba cl ( run of his right throug h the line. Eithe r he'd ge t pas t B agg s on that pl a y or Baggs would drop him D anny it che d to try his luckhe called it his luck, a n y w ay. During the first quarte r Danny refraine d from using this pl ay. But ;n the sec ond p e riod the 'Varsity, pla ying a smashing g a me, rush e d the freshm e n to th eir o w n twenty-yard line, and there l o st th e b a ll on a fumble. T h e freshmen lin e d up Her e w a s the pl a c e where a li gh t tea m w ou l d a t o nce kick t h e ba ll o ut of danger. Danny faced h i s backs and b a r ked the s i g n a l. T h e full b ac k d ropp ed b a c k as thoug h to t ak e t he ball for a k i ck directl y from th e c e nt e r. D a nny s t raig h t en e d u p and g lanced ba c k at t he full so 95

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DANNY FISTS as to deceive the 'Vars ity as much as possible. Then he squ .ared around as though to block off anyone comi ng th rough the line. At that moment t he ball was snapped into his hands. He shot through th e line ju st in side g u ard. For a freshman t eam, th e play was splendidly exe cuted. Baggs, deceived, tried to sho9t tnrough he other side, a.1d Danny's opening was complete. The q uarte r went on for fifteen yards. "Who left that hole open there?" yelled Talmage, the 'Varsity captain. Nobody an s wered. Talm age saw the center straggli ng back to posit i on "You t ried to knife through, Baggs," he called ou t Baggs face was fur'ously red. He had com p letely l ost his temper. Had the play b e en worked by any othe r school team he would have t aken it as all in the d ay's work. But to have Danny Phi pps sli p past him -He crouched i nto position During the next t wo or three plays h e t ried his be st to d e ceive the freshman center and to slip through so that he could get his hands on Danny. But the fre b.-96

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TO THE 'VARSITY man center, a wise youth, vigilantly protected his quarter. "Whew!" breathed the side lines "There'd be one hot old scrap if Baggs could get at Phipps." But the few f ect that separated them we re just enou g h to keep th em apart, a nd Danny had a rugged opportunity to &ee for hims elf the folly of hot t emper For. the game of the cool-headed Baggs, and the game of th e hot-headed Baggs were different;. game s ent irely. That night Craig met Cross i n the yard. "Were you fellows usin g everything you had?" the coach d e mand ed The freshman c apta in hesitated. "Were you?" Craig in s i sted. "No, Cross an swe red. "Huh!" Cra ig nodded as th oug h one or two things were now clear to him. "Saturday," h e announc ed, "you ch ap s go b ack at t he Va rsi ty." Cross carri ed that news to the tea m And n ext day the fres hmen were o ut early, and ran through a glorious, dri ving signa l drill. Saturday's game was a slashing strugg le. The 97

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DANNY FISTS 'Varsity had the brawn and. the strength to hammer its way down the field, but th e freshmen had that untried sequence. It was worked first i n the second quarter. With the ball near the side line, Cross rammed through outside tackle, and the le f t eQd came around to make the play safe from behind. Nobody on the 'Varsity paid much atten tion to that end. It was his business to make things safe hehind. Bu t w i t h the full down, arid the elevens lining up again, the end did not go back to his usual place. Quietly he slipped outside right tackle. The lines had formed. "Now," cried Danny, softly. Directly to the light and fast Lee center p as sed the ball. He was off and away on a swinging run outside end. His own end took care of the opposing player, and the freshma n left end and right tackle took care of the opposing tackle A lmost before the side lin es knew what had hap pened, Lee was out of d ange r. 'Var ity took up the chase, but Lee's flying feet were not to be denied. He crossed the line squar e ly under the posts. The side lines shri eked joy ously 98

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TO THE 'VARSITY "Good work, freshies Good work, freshies !" Cross kicked an easy goal. The crestfallen 'Varsity was given the ball to kick Craig, tramping the lines, lost all interest m that particular game. The sheer audacity of the freshman play had quite taken away his breath. He had expected the younger team to spring something on the 'Varsity; but that the play would streak along so cunningly, so successfully, so dar ingly had never once entered into his calculations The play was not an accident; it was brains It was generalship of a high order. Stung by that score, the 'Varsity thereafter played smashing ball. Slowly the freshmen lost their speed and stamina The last quarter was a 'Varsity parade Beaten and weary, Cross and his players finally trotted to the locker room. And there they found Craig. The coach clapped his hands for silence "Who invented that play?" he demanded. Danny busied himself at his locker. "Who invented it?" Craig demanded again. "Danny Phipps," yelled Cross. "Phipps," called several other voices. 99

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DANNY F I STS "Mighty good work," said Craig, briefly But Cross had caught the expression on the c oach's face For the next few days the freshfj'lan captain quietly gave h i s quarter all the ad vice he could. And Danny profited greatly, and in turn t he freshmen profited, too. It bega n t o be whispered around the yard that, aside from t he 'Varsity, the youngsters had the smoothes t running eleven in sch oo l. It would have surp ri se d Danny t o have h eard it. But Cross heard, and h e was no t su rprised I Then McKean, the 'Varsi ty scrub quarter, went o u t of the game with a sprained ankle P l ainl y t here had to be another scrub quarte r, and plai n ly tha t scrub qua rter had to come from one o f the clas s teams. "Wonder who i t 'll be?" Cross asked D an n y You can search me," grinned Danny. "I'm not i nterested." "But suppose he should try you?" "Me?" D ann y demanded, incredulously. "Oh, forget i t The boy from W stbrook scampered off to h is ro om and Cross stoo d in the yard and smi led IOO

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TO THE 'VARSITY at nothing for a long time And next morning, when Danny came down to breakfast, he found a note a waiting him, and the note read: PHIPPS: Report for practice with the 'Varsity at four o'clock: this afternoon CRAIG.

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CHAPTER VI TROUBLE IN THE 'VA RSITY BREAKFAST that morning was a vague meal to Danny. Never afte rwards could he clearly remember what he had e aten, nor could he rememb e r wheth e r he had ea ten anything a t all. All he knew was tha t he sat down at his place, and that afte r a w hile he got up and went out with the others. R a lph Dutton hurried to him once the dining hall was cleared "Sick?'' he asked, anxiously. Danny said he wasn't. "But you're white and scared looking," insi s ted Ralph. "Guess-guess it's this," said Danny, and hand e d his room-mate that morning's no te. "Whee!" cried Ralph. "Going up! I knew Craig had his e yes on you. Didn't I tell you? That play against the 'Varsity was peaches and 102

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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY cream. Wonder what Baggs'll think about this?', Danny didn't know, and at that particular moment he didn't really care. His soul, u sually so confident, was troubled. What if he fell down? Suppose he made a mess of the 'Varsity and was Jropped from that select little crowd? "Don't you worry about thi s," Ralph c au tioned. "You'll make good. I'm nothing extra as a football player myself, but I know the 14-karat when I see it. You'll make good." Som ehow thi s cheered Danny wonderfully "I-/ I was a little bit afraid," he confe ssed Dutton, who rejoiced sincerely in his roommate' s good fortune, spread the tiding far and near. Danny hims elf told Cross, and the fresh man captain gripped his arms and said he had expected it. By dinner time the whole school knew of Danny's promotion, and at noon the freshman class led a demonstration in his behalf. The racket and the noise made Danny feel that they were sure that Craig hadn't made a mistake in his choice of substitute quarter, and that h elpe d restore t he boy's courage, too. Before dinner was over Danny was as cocky as ever. 103

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DANNY FISTS vVhen classes were dismissed for the day, he h
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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY and ent ered the gym N e x t came the locker room. "Now," wh ispered Ralph, hoa r sely "be sure you yawn. D an ny paraded down to his locker. He opened t h door and tried to y awn, but ex c itement al m ost ch o ked him After that he plunged i n to his football ri g feverishly, and w as out on the field before any of the other 'Varsity fellows "Rats !" wailed Ralph. "He mussed up the whole play Danny had a warm suspic i on that h e would be the cen te r of interest on this, his fi'rst Varsity d ay But as ide from the fact that T a lm age the Va r sity c ap t ain gave him a few friendly words, he cr eate d a s little excitement as when he was a member of the freshman team Craig came to h im after a time and nodded with an abs ent a i r "Just p ik e a l ong the lines Danny," he ordered, "and wa.tch Chapman. Chapman was the 'Varsity quarter. The 'Vars ity scampered out for signal drill, and Danny fol lo wed the play down th e field The afternoon, to him, was d e veloping i nto a big disappoint ment Wasthis what w as expected of the Vars i ty sub 105

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DANNY FISTS quarter? T he n he would pre f e r to b e back w ith the fre shman where h e could mi x in thi n gs more or le s s He sco w led and p a id v ery littl e a t t e nti on to the p lay. "Eyes up, Danny," c a lled Craig sh a rply. "I told you to watch." The boy came out of his thou g h t s with a start. Why w a s he out here w atching o t h e r f ell ows, in particular one fellow? T h e n hi s ac t i ve bra in gav e him the answer. Chapman must be the best quarter in the school els e he would not h av e h i s p re sent place. "That's it," he muttered. to see how he do e s thi ngs." "Craig wa n ts me Danny grinned. "Watch and l e arn, eh? That's m e." Now that he saw a re a son for the orde r ev e ry instinct quickened. He had not y e t l earne d the l e sson that he must o bey o r ders a s g i ve n wheth e r he understood th e m or not. Tha t would c o m e l a ter. In the freshman-' V arsity game s Danny had not given much thou ght to Chapma n. He had b e en t o o busy studying out his o w n te a m troubles. Now, however, he watched every mov e of this 106

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TROUBLE IN THE 'V ARSITY chap who excelled in his pos it ion And in half an hour Dannr had discovered that no person, by watching Chapman, wo uld ever di scove r whe r e the play was going to go. Danny, as the freshman quarter, had shifted his position a little-not very much, but a little for each particular play Chapman, on the other hand, while not standing squarely behind the cen ter, too k practically the same position every time. It made no difference whether t he play was righ t half or left half through the line, or either man around the end Always Chapman stood prac tic ally the same A nd then the i nquisitive Danny sought to ana lyze his motions He succ eeded-tha t active brai n of his seemed always to succeed. He fo und that Chapman stood with one foot a little back, and one foot forward. When left half took the b all Chapman shot the l eather straight out forward, and when the right half was to make a line plunge on his own side Chapman pivoted quickly on one foot. After the practice Craig drew Danny aside. 107

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DANNY FISTS "Did i t d o you an y good to w a tc h Chapman?" he ask ed Danny no d d e d "Lots of good." "In w hat w ay ? W hy, sa id D a n n y I us e d t o sta nd squarely beh i nd m y c e n te r and pa s s t o t he righ t or t he leftjust h ol d o ut t he b all, y o u k n o w a li ttle ahea d fo r the li n e plung e s T hen for th e en d runs, I used to face a bit t he way th p l ay wa s to go I guess t ha t w a s a de a d give-a w ay "It w as," sai d C r a ig The coach did n o t ex pl ain t hat i t had taken some othe r b oy s thr ee an d four da y s to see what D ann y had di scove r e d in o ne afte rno on "I'll g i v e yo u a ty pe writte n c op y of t he sig na l s t his aft ernoo n If y ou lose t he m o r l e t an ybod y el s e see t hem you'll t al k to rne. D an ny nodd e d happ ily. The signals I That mea nt t ha t h e wa s to be a r e a l qu arte r after a l l. ; "Anyt hin g yo u don t understa n d, Cra i g con t i nu e d a s k me or a s k T a l m a ge, or a s k C h ap m an G e t t h o s e s i gna l s as fa st as you c a n Then wh e n y o u watch the pra ctice, y o u tan s e e how th e y work o u t." Her e t o D a nny 's m i n d was mo r e footb all 10 8

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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY brains-learning the movements of the machinery before you were sent in Jo handle it. "Yes, sir," he &aid, humbly. He went b a ck to supper in a frame of min d that would ha v e filled Craig with d e light. He was t ho ro ugh ly conscious of all that he had y e t to l earn a nd th r ill ed, too, at the thought of what he had a l r e ady ma stered. Ther e w as a meeting of the freshmen in Cros s' room that night to s e lect a new quar t er The team h a d a feeling th a t now tha t Dann y was gone th ey were about throug h for the season so fa r as p laying real ball was conc e rned. Faust, a youn gste r w ho showed a bit of pro m i se was selected for the place The matter was about over wh e n Danny ra pped a t Cross' door. "I've l e arn e d a bit from watchi ng to-day," the new 'Varsi ty substitute explained, "and I w o n dered i f our c enter would pass to me a bit in the morni ngs s o I could try thin g s out." The t e a m lo o k e d at Cross Cross s miled. "Our center?" h as k e d. "I mean th e fre s hman center,'' Danny laughed. "Cou l d M i le s pass to me?" 109

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DANNY FISTS Miles now looked at the c a ptain. "Look here, Danny,"/!' said Cross, "we're all delighted beca:use there's a freshie on the 'Varsity, and we're willing to help. Now, suppose you help the class. If Miles passes to you, will you give Faust a bit of coaching?" "Bet your life," cried D a nny; and then the team howled a cheer, and Faust said fervently that he was blamed glad that somebody was going to help him. Next morning Miles and Danny sneaked off before breakfast-and had a dandy half-hour with the ball. Miles, in a way, saw what Danny was doing. "New way of passing?" he asked. ) Danny nodded. "It helps hide the play," he explained. "Tell Faust about that, and I'll go over things with him later." At first the new 'Varsity substitute found it difficult to do things as Chapman did them. He was awkward, too. But by degrees his own natural quickness of hands and of feet cam e to hi s aid, and within a week he was quite a master at the method. He had taken s evera l hours with I IO

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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY Faust, too; and Faust developed to the point whe re the freshmen began to have faith in him. Crai g quiet, abrupt Craig-had noticed that Miles and Danny had been out with the ball several mornings He questioned Danny abou t this after the boy had been a 'Varsity player almost a week. "What have you been doing with Miles?" he asked. "Practicing," Danny explained. "Practici ng what?" "Chapman's way of handling the ball." "V\' ho told you to do that? Talmage?" "No." "Chapman?" "No. I thought-" "I might have suspected that," said Craig. "Out ea rly to-day, Danny During cla sses that afternoon it sudde nly came t o Danny t ha t, should he go t o the 'Varsity at any time, Donald Baggs would be his wor king m a te. By t(iis time D anny knew the impor tance of c ente r and quarter working to gethe r He likened them to the pitcher and the c a tcher o f a III

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'I DANNY FISTS baseball battery. Only something way inside of him him that unanimity in feeling and sympathy is of more importance in football between the center and the quarter than it would be in baseball between the pitcher and the catcher. Even though pitcher and catcher pull apart bril liant fielding may save a game. But once the center and the quarter fail to work together the football team strangles and dies. / Danny was restless after this thought came to him. He was sure that Baggs still disliked him, for Baggs scowled at him repeatedly in the locker I room. Nor did Baggs ever go out of his way to say a friendly "Hello," or "How are you coming I on?" as so many others of the 'Varsity did. Tal-J mage and Chapman, and the others, treated him like a comrade. Baggs treated him like-"Like dirt," muttered Danny. "Well, I'lldo my part if I ever get a chance, and he'll have to do his." Dan,.ny was given a chance that afternoon. He had the signals down by this time, and Craig sent him oot to run the 'Varsity throu gh a signal drill. Danny walked out to the field boldly enough; but 112

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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY his legs trembled and shook at the and his hands itched and were sweaty. He saw Baggs glance at him and frown. The eleven lined up. Danny laid a friendly hand on Baggs's crouched back. Baggs moved a few inches. This time it was Danny who frowned, and he took his hand away. He shrilled the signal. The ball came back. The play broke into a studied confusion. For twenty minutes Danny went up, down, up, down the field. He the signals correctly; he passed to the right man; he did just what he was supposed to do in the way of interference, and he did it gingerly. But somehow things seemed to lag. There was no pepper to the work. Finally Craig called Danny out. "That's enough for to-day," he said. "In, Chapman." The regular quarter went to the field. The 'Varsity play became brisker, easier, surer and stronger. That afternoon the coach walked to the gym with Danny. The boy waited for comments, and they came. "Mechanically," said Craig, "your play is all 113

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DANNY FISTS right. Keep studying Chapman. You must learn the knack of keeping the fellows going hard. You failed in that to-day." Danny nodded silently. He thought he could have explained that slowness, but he said nothing to the coach. While he dressed his busy brain kept prodding the situation. What was it had been happening out there on the field during those twenty minutes? He rehearsed the situation. On the first three plays the ball had been snapped to him briskly. Then it had come slowly. He had juggled, because the oval had not come fully into his hands. On the next pass the ball came back faster than at the start, and it had shot through his hands for his only fumble. Baggs's ) passing had been uncertain, erratic. Danny wasn't an expert football man, but he knew enough to realize that this in itself had his own game. If he had not got speed from the team, it was because he had not got the ball from Baggs as it should have come to him. There wasn't much that was half-way about Danny. Once his reason told him that poor pass ing had weakened his showing, ne resolved to II4

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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY learn if his reasoning was sound. He went to Talmage's room after supper. "Got any football books?" he asked. "They're not exactly for youngsters m the game," the captain answered, doubtfully. "I want some-something way up," Danny explained. "I have a book upstairs, but it isn't very deep." Talmage whistled. "Going to help Craig coach the team?" Danny grinned. "Maybe," and a moment later he departed with two books under his arms. He found his room empty. He locked the door, drew the shades, and prepared to go at his prob lem with bare fists. Half an hour later he found what he wanted. He read the passage slowly: Uniform passing is vital. Anyone who has played quarterback knows that, if a center snaps the ball at a certain rate of speed every time, the quarter has trouble in adjusting himself to that speed and in handling the ball cleanly and without e ffort every time. If, however, the center, passing three or four times at a certain of speed, suddenly increases the speed a little bit, it is ab s olutely certain that the

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DANNY FISTS quarter will fumble the ball. He has be come accustomed to the feel of it, an
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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY posely bad, he would have gone to Baggs' room that minute, and Manor Hall"'would have seen the greatest scrap of its There was a time that Danny woul}l not have bothered about proof; the mere thought would have been enough to send him on trouble's path. Now, though, the discipline of the football field was beginning to get in its work. Unconsciously the boy was start ing to hold himself in check. Nevertheless, his sense of fair play felt out raged. He couldn't or wouldn't carry tales; but he could not control the expression of his mouth and eyes. In the locker room next day he stared fixedly at the center, and Chapman came over and dug him in the ribs. "What's up, kid?" the quarter asked. "You look as though you'd like to slip Baggs a dose of poison." "I-I was thinking a bout something," stam- mered Danny. Chapman laughed. Even though he and Danny were after the same place, a warm bond of friendship had sprung up between them. "Choke those thoughts," the older boy advised. \. 117 I

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DANNY FISTS "If they're going to make you look like that they're not for you." That bit of wisdom, however, made no im pression on Danny. That afternon he got :'"'1-'other short period with the 'Varsity, and once more the play was slower than when Chapm.m was m. "Come on," Talmage cried, impatient ly. "Everybody work." "I'm sending it back on signal!" Baggs growled. Danny bit his lips. Later, as he came out of the practice, he paused beside the center. "I wonder," he said in a low voice, "if you _} pass the ball to Chapman as evenly as you pass to me?" Baggs flushed hotly. "Chapman's a quarter," he growled. Then Chapman, who seemed to have been watching things, ran over and whirled Danny around, and slipped his arm through Dan-_:) ny's and dragged that volcanic young person off to the locker room and the cool of the showers. After that Baggs not only disliked Danny, but Danny also disliked Baggs. 118

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TROUBLE IN THE 'VARSITY A day or two later the seniors lined up against the 'Varsity, and Danny tramped the side line and watched the 'Varsity score at will. vVhen the third quarter began, Craig sent him out to relieve Chapman. Danny went forth with no feeling of joy. The 'Varsity had the ball. The quarter took position behind his center. "Steady," he called. "Even and steady." Baggs mumbled something. Danny gave the signal. The ball came to him jerky and irregular. And then the last of Danny's confidence van ished. It was impossible for him to steady down and get things running right. He never knew how that leather oval would come to him, and instead of every muscle moving with the smooth ness of oil, he had to strain himself to be on guard against any kind of pass that might come. And so the 'Varsity, that had routed the seniors for three quarters, barely held its own in the last period. When the final whistle blew Danny stretched his arms wearily. Oh, for one good rousing crack at Mr. Donald Baggs' nose I But he held himself in and walked silently to the gyrn, and then up to the locker room. Craig II9

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DANNY FISTS had remained back on the field. The players could all see Danny's dejection. "Don't worry, quarter," called a voice. "Better luck next time." "Quarter?" came Baggs' voice with a note of surprise. "Did somebody say quarter? Wouldn't one-eighth be about right?" An icy silence settled over the locker room. Under the showers fellows turned off the hissing spray. Danny-the same Danny who had vowed to hold his temper at any course-felt something choke in his throat. "Some fellows," he shot back, hoarsely, "some fellows can never forget a licking, can they?" The silence of the room deepened. Seconds passed, and the heat in Danny's blood died. Out wardly he was calm, but inwardly he felt sick and weak. Once more his temper haq triumphed. His tongue had worked with a cutting lash-and the thing that he had said would surely do the 'Varsity no good.

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CHAPTER VII A NOTE FROM BAGGS I T seemed to Danny that when he returned to the yard every fell ow there knew of what had happened in the locker room. What was worse, every fellow seemed to frown at Danny and to turn away a bit. Somehow, these fellows made Danny bristle. He stuck up his freckl ed nose scornfully, and paraded defiantly to the dormitory and up to No. 52. But, once in the room, all his defiance deserted him. He sprawled into a chair and was thoroughly, genuinely miserable. His football for tunes seemed to be on the way to a grand, old smash. Ralph Dutton came into the room a bit breath lessly. E v id e ntly he had run quite a distatlce. "You and Baggs had a row?" he dema uded. Danny nodded sullenly. 121

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DANNY FISTS "Did-did you say something to him about the fight?" And then Danny-the hot-blooded, red-haired Danny-rose in his wrath. "I did," he cried. "I told him that some fellows couldn't forget a licking. I know what's being said. The fellows think that it looks pretty cheap to slap a fellow about a fight in which he has been licked. I guess that's right. But no body stops to think that Baggs starte d everything by taking a crack at hie. Who asked him to make a criticism of the way I played my position? If he played his-" Danny stopped short. Dutton whistled softly. "What about Baggs' game?" he asked. "Nothing," Danny scowled. Dutton, however, had a pretty good id e a that there were clashes between Dann y a n d B a ggs about which the yard kne w nothing. These clashes could have come only on the footb a ll fie l d Ralph whistled again, this time a bit sharply. "You keep right on going,'' h e s a id, cri s ply. "And-and don't pay any attention to anything that happens in the dining hall." 122

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A NGTE FROM BAGGS Danny grunted. "So they're going to treat me as though I'm a rotten sort, eh? All right." The supper bell rang. Danny marched out and down to the long hall where the students of the green and white ate. Ralph, fearing trouble, followed him. But Dan11y sought no row. He stalked with calm disdain to his own table; and the boys who had resolved that they would take this youngster down a peg found that he was flying over their heads. After the meal Danny met Chapman on the way out. ''That was raw, kid," the 'Varsity quarter re proved. "What was?" Danny asked. "The way you pitched into Baggs." "How about the way he pitched into me?" I Chapman said nothing to that. Instead he patted the younger boy's arm. "Hold your temper," he advised. "It pays." "Wish I had held it," Danny confessed. Chap" man stared as though puzzled. "I'm not think ing about Bagg s," Danny continued. "I'm think ing about the team." (

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DANNY FISTS Cha p man nodded. "That's what I was think ing abou t ," he said. Late r i n the evening, Talmage, the 'Varsity captain, c ame to No. 52 while R a l p h and Danny were study i ng "Clear' out," the captain said to Dutton. "I want to tal k to Danny." Dutton p u t down his book. You might have said 'pl e ase'," he growled. "Please," Talmage amended. Dutton departed. The captain turned to Danny. "I want you to apologize to B a ggs," he an nounced. Danny frowned. "How about Baggs apolo gizing to me?" "I don't want any argument," Talmage cried, impatiently. "You ought to apologize to Baggs." "Why?" "He's the 'Varsity center, and if you and he are on the outs it will hurt the 'Varsity." "How?" "Because you and he sometimes have to work together-" 12-'f.

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS "Then how about an apology from Baggs?" Danny insisted. "If I'm sore at Baggs it will mean just as much trouble as though Baggs is sore at me, won't it?" "You apologize," Talmage insisted. "You do your bit and never mind the other fellow." That sounded reasonable, but Danny could not forget how Baggs had passed the ball to him. It galled him somewhat, too, to think that every body thought of the center and that nobody thought of him. "The worst of being a freshman," he said, "is that you must knuckle to every fellow-" "The worst of eing a freshman," Talmage cried hotly, "is that you think you're the whole cheese the minute you hit the 'Varsity." Danny's mouth twitched. "I didn't ask for the 'Varsity," he retorted. "You didn't refuse it," Talmage shot back. "Did you?" Danny asked. Talmage flushed. "I want you to apologize to Baggs," he flared. "And I don't give a rap what you want," an swered the pugnacious Danny. "I'll just as soon 125

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DANNY FISTS be on the freshman team, anyway You tell Craig that I said so. I'm not in love with the 'Varsity. There isn't enough action there to suit me. A freshman on the 'Varsity is like a pebble on the beach-he's lost in the bunch of other peb bles. If Baggs will come along and apologize for what he said to me, I'll apologize for what I said to him." "Is that your idea of school spirit?" Talmage asked. "It's the sort of spirit I learned from Baggs," Danny cried. The captain strode toward the door. "I'll tell this to Craig." "Go ahead," Danny invited, recklessly. "And tell him to watch-" "Watch what?" Talmage invited. "Nothing," said Danny. "I made a mistake, then." "It isn't the only mistake you made to-night," the captain hinted. He waited, but Danny ma d e no advances, and in a minute he was out in the ball. "Pig-headed kid," he raged. The captain went straight to the coach's room, 126

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS and twenty fellows in the yard saw his journey and co\rectly analyzed what it meant. They tdld one another that Phipps' goose was as good as cooked. But when Talmage came forth, half an hour later, he refuse d to discuss Danny and Baggs, and went directly to his mom. That was the last the yard saw of him that night. Meanwhile, however, the freshmen had talked things over. One of their own class was in trou ble, and they stuck to their own. They breezed through the yard and dema.nded to know who had started all this, anyway. Hadn't Baggs fired the first shot? Well, then, Danny had given him as good as he had sent. The stand that the freshmen had taken filled Craig with alarm. A row in the 'Varsity was bad enough, but to have the matter become a fuilfledged school row was worse. Next morning he waited for Danny in the yard. "What's this I hear about you and Baggs?" he demanded, sternly. Danny told him exactly what had happened. "I-I lost my temper,'' the boy said in a low tone. "I promised you I'd hold myself in, and instead 127

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NOTE FROM BAGGS of that I ripped into him as hard as I could go. I'm sorry, but-but I did it.,, Craig's eyes held their sternness; Danny's eyes dropped. "Suppose you apologize to Baggs," the coach hinted. D a nny shook his head stubbornly. Here was a matter on which he was ready to lock horns with the whole school. He_ did not put his re fusal into words; in fac t he said nothing. But Craig, watching, understood, and the coach did I not turn the hint into a command. "You said something to Talmage," the man "about something I ought to watch." Danny's eyes came up. "That was a mistake," he said, quickly. '"I didn't mean that." "What is there that you think I should watch?" Craig asked again. "Nothing,'' Danny insisted. "Talmage got on my nerves and I guess I did some wild talking.,, "I wo?der if you did,'' said Craig. He walked the length of the yard with Danny and l e t all the school see that he and the substitute quarter were not at war. Later he walked back and forth 128

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS across the yard with Baggs. The school, taking this to mean that all was serene within the 'Vars ity, stopped its chatter. Not for a moment did the yard suspect that the coach had staged two strolls for its particular benefit, and that the act ing of Craig had accomplished its purpose. Danny, though, despite the fact that the coach had paraded with him in friendly fashion, was sorely worried The man had suggested an apol ogy to Baggs, and he had refused. What would follow? The boy from Westbrook had an idea that it was no light matter to stir up trouble in the 'Varsity and then to refuse to smooth the troubled waters. Would Craig gently drop him from the squad? He came out that afternoon a bit apprehen. sively. Talmage spoke to him, and tried to be natural, but could not hide the fact that he was sore. The fellows treated him Well, he didn't exactly know how they treated him. Then Craig came into the room. He spoke to Danny, and he spoke to Baggs, and then he went out; and somehow Danny had a feeling that the coach 129

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DANNY FISTS wasn't going to penalize him for anything that had happened. As a matter of fact Craig had awakened to the fact that there was more to the trouble between Danny and Baggs than he had suspected. In the freshman team Danny had been a "live wire." He had been on the go every minute. On the 'Varsity he was slow. It wasn't that he was slow compared to the 'Varsity fellows; it was that he was just slow. The way he passed the ball now would have been slow even on the freshman team. It wasn't nervousness and it wasn't anxiety. Red-haired, bristling Danny wasn't the sort of fellow who developed "nerves." Then what was it? Before that crash in the locker room Craig had wondered. He thought now that he knew. Som e thing had upset Danny's play. What? Plainl y not the backs, for while it was possible that an y one of them might have wilted, all three would not have collapsed at the same time. That left only the center-and the center was Baggs. If he was at odds with the quarter, and if the passing-"That's it," muttered Craig. "Danny told Tal-130

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS I mage to tell me to watch, and that 'watch' must p.ave meant that I was to watch Baggs. I'll watch him." The coach used his eyes that afternoon. He seqt Chapman in at the start of the practice, and later he sent in Danny. As soon as the substitute quarter took the field Craig left the side line and went out and took position directly in the rear of the fullback. There, with his hands stuck in the pockets of a knitted woolen jacket, he grimly fol lowed the team up and down the field. After the practice he tapped Baggs on the shoulder. The center glanced up with a start. "See me to-night," said Craig. And next day a rumor began to seep through the school that Craig had read the "riot act" to Baggs, and h a d told him that hereafter the center was to make no criticisms of any other 'Varsity player's work. Danny heard the rumor. In truth, it must be confessed that he hoped that what he had h eard was true. He' even voiced thii thought to Dutton. "Hope it's true 111Self," growled Ralph. 131

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DANNY FISTS And after practice that afternoon Ralph met him in the locker room. "It is true," he whispered, hoarsely. "What's true?" Danny asked. "That Craig hopped on Baggs. Baggs told half a dozen fellows, and they've spread it all over the place." Danny sighed with relief. That meant an end of that trouble, anyway. "Right here," he vowed, "is where I begin to keep my tongue inside my teeth." At Manor Hall football ran a practice period each fall from September until the middle of Oc tober. Then the 'Varsity began to play outside schools, and the class teams be.gan to battle with each other for the school champion s hip. Six or seven games were usually on the 'Varsity sched ule. This year there were seven. Danny hoped fervently that he would get a chance to get into one of the battles. He got a chance m each of the two practice games that were left. It occurred to him that Craig kept pretty close to the play while he was 132

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS 'Working. Danny had sense enough to know that the coach was watching somebody. Who? "Me," muttered the boy to himself. "He knows things slow up when I go in." Danny glared at Baggs. For Baggs' passing was still something to keep a quarter in hot water. Danny was never sure how the ball would come to him, and grad ually the backs got to a point where they were never sure just when the quarter could be counted on to toss the ball to them. "Great Scott, Danny," cried Talmage in exasperation one day, "smooth it out; smooth it out. Get things running evenly." Danny's tongue ached to reply, but he held him self in check. But, even though football had its unpleasant side, Danny chanced on one thing that was of immense benefit to him. One day, as he stood on the side he awoke to the fact that Craig was talking to himself. Soon the boy discovered that the coach did a good deal of low talking to him self as he followed his men up and down the field. Seldom did Craig call out a comment while 133 ... ,,.,. (

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DANNY FISTS the play was on. He believed thoroughly in let: ting a team.learn to stand on its own feet so that it would not be dependent on the voice and the drive of the coach. Hence, while at times he would go out on the field and drive his charges, generally he retired to the side line when they lined up for a scrimmage. And there, closely fol lowing each play, he muttered praise or censure, or made quick comment on the success or the fail ure of each manoeuver. Once this knowledge came to Danny he tagged along at the heels of Craig every moment that he was not in the line-up. And from the things that Craig spoke aloud the substitute quarter came to know the importance of an interferer putting his man out, the lusty reason for starting a play on time and with a snap, and many other football truths. There was one day when Craig seemed in a mood to talk long and often in that low tone. Danny, unnoticed, was at his heels. A 'Varsity end run was spoileq when the opposing end slipped past the interferer and reach the runner. "Oh, put him out; put him out," Craig groaned. 134

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS "When you go for a man, get him How can any man put out even a fairly good end by running at him and falling down? Keep on your feet and get him I Isn't it possible for back-field men to learn that? Any good end would simply toy with that sort of interference. He'd put his hand. on your head and slip right past. "Whew l" whispered Danny. "I won't forget that." By this time the 'Varsity was lined up again A line plunge failed when the runner stopped short in the opening. In fact, there wa sn't any opening, for the 'Varsity line had failed to clean up. The back might just as well have gone against a stone wall. Danny saw all this but didn't exactly know what the trouble was Then Craig's low voice told him "Fine line charge!" the coach grunted, with. savage sarcasm. "Opponents 1had the jump on you by four seconds. Four seconds I You can't clean up a line unless you start when the ball starts. Get the jump on the other fellows I If they start to come forward first, you might just as well take up your satchel and go home 135

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DANNY FISTS The line formed again. It was another line plunge. This time the forward cleaned up, and the runner got six yards. "Better!" grunted Craig. "Hard and fast, and you '11 get there." Then came a criss-cross. "Great heavens!" gasped Craig. "That was a good play to try then, but look how they did it. Beautifully timed! Beautifully timed-not!" For instead of drawing the opposing man past the point where he could catch the second recipi ent of the ball, the play drew him directly to the spot where he should not have been. And so, no sooner had the left half sent the ball to the right half than he was secure in the arms of the opposing tackle. "Time it differently," Craig muttered. "Time it differently, or you'll run squarely into him every try." Danny saw the point clearly. He even remembered how he had once been fooled on a criss cross that was not as well worked as this. He made up his mind that he would study out the exact point where that ball ought to be passed. 136

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS Then came a play that interested Danny more than all the others. This was a quick kick by the quarter from close behind the line. The play was allowed by the new rules, and Craig felt that he could make something of it; but Chapman had failed to see the point of the coach's teachings. Instead of swinging sidewise and swingiag his foot sidewise so as to lift the ball up over the line. he faced the line too much and kicked exactly as he would have kicked were he in the fullback's position. His actions gave the play away too much, and as a result every now and then the kick was blocked. Even before the ball was snapped Craig groaned dismally. "Come to life, Chapman L Everyone on the other side knows you're going to kick. Look at your position!" And suddenly Danny realized that it must in- deed be a blind team that wouldn't at least sus pect that Chapman was about to try this quick kick. The instant the ball came back and before Cha pman could do much more than touch it with his foot, an opposing ma.n. partly thrpugh .. .. 137 < .

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DANNY FISTS with his hands high in the air over Chapman. The ball struck those hands and bounded back. The fullback recovered it, but twenty-five pre cious yards had been lost. "That's a lesson for me," Danny decided. "Sideways kicks for your uncle Dudley on that play, hereafter." And the next day, while running the 'Varsity through a signal drill, he kicked as a 'Varsity quarter was expected to on that particular signal. And on the side line Craig nodded his head as though pl!!ased, and smiled softly to :himself. Meanwhile the opening game of the season against Mt. Merry Academy was approaching. The school, by slow degrees, arose to a vast height of enthusiasm. Every student who could possibly spare the time paraded to the field each day and cheered the 'Varsity. Thin, little stu dents, whose slender frames barred them from the game, went to Craig and asked him if the team had enough money, and if he wanted a meeting held to raise funds. But Craig said that there was money enough -and that the principal thing 138

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS he wanted was eleven chaps who would play like the very mischief for the green and white. Whereupon a d o zen or so fello ws who had figured that they'd h ave to giv e a dollar to the football fund cheered up wond e rfully. And so, with the Mt. Merry game only twentyfour hours off, the 'Varsity ran out to the field to prance through its last signal drill, and Chapman tried to shine too brightly on a quarterback run. He started with a snap, and his foot jerked, and a few minutes later they had him on the side line and Craig had diagnosed the case as a twisted ankle. "Se rious ?" asked Chapman. "Enough to keep you out to-morrow," an swered Craig; / and the news spread that Danny would quarter the 'Varsity in its first outside game. It wasn't pleasant news to the school. Fel lows who weren't football players could remember that Danny hadn't been able to get the life out of the team that Chapman had got. They growled among themselves that things were start-139

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DANNY FISTS ing off badly for the green and white with a freshman kid in for quarter. Danny heard none of this; but Dutton didand along about eight o'clock that night Ralph appeared in the room with a bleeding nose. "Hello I" cried Danny. "Fight?" "Yep!" Ralph joyously splashed cold water on the injured organ. "Some fellows said down there that you wouldn't get the team running as fast as Chapman." Danny's chin squared. "Wish I knew who hit me," Dutton sighed. 'Two or three of them were knocking, and I sailed into the bunch." He bared his right hahd and showed a skinned knuckle. "I got one of them, anyway." Danny turned away his head. "You-you're a good skate, Ralph," he said, unsteadily. The substitute quarter was worried. He knew that he wasn't getting the proper speed out of the 'Varsity; he was sure that Craig knew it; and now the yard knew it, too. What sent the heat into his blood was the fact that nobody seemed to think that Baggs mig}:tt have something to do 140

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS with the sluggishness. He was a freshman, and Baggs was a junior. The motto of the school seemed to be "pound the freshman kid." "All right," he grunted, passionately. "Let them knock. I'll go into that game with clean hands, and I'll come out of it with clean hands. That's all I care about." But he knew that he cared for more than that even while he said it. Twenty minutes later Talmage poked his head in through the door of No. 52. "Craig wants you," he said to Danny. They walked to the coach's rooms together. Talmage seemed to have something on his mind. "You," the captain said, hesitating, at last, "you and Baggs ought to forget your differences. to-morrow." "Suppose you tell that to Baggs," Danny flared. Talmage grunted, and they finished their jour ney in silence. Danny found the coach sprawled off in a roomy wicker chair. "Sit down," Craig inv i ted. Talmage disappeared. Soon Baggs walked into the room. 141

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DANNY FISTS "Hurrah I" said Craig. "Now the gang's all here. Close the door, Baggs." The center obeyed the order. He took a chair as far away from Danny as he could get. Craig's eyes narrowed. Yet, when he spoke, his voice was calm and even. game," he said, "depends upon Jou two. That's the reason I have brought you here. I want both of you to play hard; I want you to play fast; I want you to play together." Danny colored. Baggs said nothing. "What the eleven does," Craig went on, earn-estly, "depends to a large extent on the center and the quarter. If the work between them is ragged, everything else is ragged. They are the pivots Everything turns on them. They're the-. -the .White Hopes," he finished with a smile. Neither Danny nor Baggs gave an answering smile. "Center and quarter must pull together all the way through," the coach continued. "It's essen tial to the welfare of the team. There must be a common feeling, and steady and consistent pulling together all the time. It's essential not only 142

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"Danny found the coach sprawled off in a roomy wicker chair."

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS for their own play, but for the effect on the team. I have seen a team with a good, strong line and a first-class back-field, completely upset because of the work of center and quarter. Mind, the center and the quarter I speak of made no blunders, yet the back-field never made the line at the right time, and the line never went forward as it should. So I want you fellows to-morrow to work together like a clock. Danny is the second hand; you, Baggs, are the minute hand. If you two chaps tick off correctly, the rest of the eleven must keep time." Still Baggs said nothing. "Like the pitcher and the catcher of a nine," said Danny. "Exactly," said Craig. "Young and Crieger ff were a great battery for Boston. Yet, as soon as 1 they were separated, they both dropped out of baseball." "Didn't age have something to do with their drop?" asked Baggs. "And yet," said Craig, slowly, "they got past trouble safely as long as they could stick together." 143

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DANNY FISTS Once more Baggs said nothing. Craig bit hi lips. "All right, boys," he said. "That's all." They went out. They did not speak Danny went down to the yard. Did Craig believe that he was nursing a grouch, or did the coach suspect Baggs? The boy turned the problem in his mind for half an hour. Then he gave it up and went indoors. It was too much for him. In the room he found Dutton, and Ralph wasexcited-vastly excited. "Here's a Black Hand mystery, Danny," he greeted. "I found it pinned to the outside of the door." "A letter?" Danny asked without much inter est. "Maybe." Dutton frowned. "I don't know what it is. It isn't addressed to anyone. It was just pinned there. And it isn't written either; it's been printed with pen and ink as though the chap tried to disguise his handwriting. You just take a peek at this." He held out a sheet of paper. Danny took it 144

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A NOTE FROM BAGGS with a yawn. Instantly the yawn became a gasp. For on the paper in rough letters was printed: UNFRIENDLY BATTERIES HAVE WON GAMES, TOO. Danny dropped the sheet on the study table. His face, perhaps, told more than he meant to tell. "Know who sent it?" Ralph asked, eagerly. "No." Danny shook his head positively. Their eyes met. Ralph whistled, and after a moment he turned away with a laugh. "Tell it to Sweeney, Danny," he invited

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CHAPTER VIII A MUFFED PUNT THAT scrawly, venom o us note from Baggs sent the hot shot of worry into Danny's brain. The language of it told him all too plainly that what ev er resentment Baggs had heretofore nursed, he still kept in his heart. That meant that next day, against M t Merry, there would be_ trouble. It meant freaky uneven passing; and slow work by the backs, and 1 slow work, too, by the line. All in all, things looked black for Manor Hall. Danny had a stuffy, choking feeling that Baggs wasn't playing fair to the team. His note meant that he wbuld play on the morrow just as he had played on all the other days that had passed since Danny had joined the 'Varsity. "I'll tell Craig, Danny thought; and next mo ment he knew that he wouldn't. He was one of 146

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A MUFFED PUNT the type that never complains. He would take what came to him, and even while taking it he would boil up at the thought that the school had to suffer with him. And yet he would take his medicine, and take it in silence. There was still an hour before bed-time. Dutton had started to study, and Danny slipped out the door, and down the stairs to the yard. He found a dark corner under a few trees and there had a bad half-hour with himself. Gradually the language of Baggs' note began to soothe him. It had read, "Unfriendly batter.ies have won games, too." The more Danny thought of this expres sion, the more he came to see that Baggs wasn't trying to hurt Manor Hall. Baggs didn't like him. Baggs couldn't work with him in harmony. Baggs didn't say that Manor would lose; Baggs merely said that "unfriendly batteries" had won. The whole thing could niean only that Baggs was with Manor heart and soul, but that Baggs wasn't with the quarter who played behind him. And that in turn could mean only that Baggs' passing was not wrong by intent, but that it was shaky and uncertain because there was a feeling of ani-r 47

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DANNY FISTS mosity toward the boy who stood a few feet in his rear. And suddenly, out there in the darkness, Dan ny grinned. "Why," he muttered, "if that's all that's wrong I'll soothe him and have him working his head off before the game is ten minutes old." He went back to the room. Dutton had put aside his books. They chatted for a and then the "lights out" bell rang, and they crawled under the soft, warm coverings of their beds. Danny dropped into sleep at once-the deep, restful sleep of the untroubled mind. Next day Danny felt a nervousness that was new to him The freshmen were genuinely de lighted because he was to play. They showed their feelings by howling the class cheer, and by cheering for Danny, too. Twitches of excitement ran through the school. And Danny, his thoughts suddenly telling him that this game was practically up to him and Baggs, began to have a queer, empty sensation in his stomach. He saw the center during the morning. They spoke stiffiy a moment, and then separated. 148

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A MUFFED PUNT Baggs' eyes were apprehensive, but Danny said nothing about the note. What was the use? Besides, a new thought had come to him, and it had filled him with alarm. Would his plan to soothe Baggs work? Hadn't he, in one of the practice games, tried to pat the center's broad back as Chapman always did, and hadn't Baggs showed plainly that he wanted none of it? The harassed quarter went in to a flat dinner. Nothing tasted right. After the meal he lounged in the yard with a cluster of freshmen. The Mt. Merry Academy came past shortly after two o'clock, and turned in toward the athletic field and the gym. "Gosh!" cried one voice. "They're light, eh? We ought to lick them about 50 too." "Right-o," chorused a medley of voices. Danny wet his lips. So that's what the school expected of him to-day I He hoped fervently that Baggs would pass that ball so that the plays could be made fast and sure. Soon Talmage came out of the dormitory build mg. "On the way," he called; and Danny and 149

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DANNY FISTS other 'Varsity fellows walked with self-conscious strides to the gym. They found Craig in the locker ro9m. "Shake it up, fellows," he ordered. He turned to Tal mage. "See the visitors yet?" "No." "Go and look them over." Talmage went off to that portion of the locker room reserved for visiting teams. Soon h e came back. "Don't they feed them over there? There isn't a chap with them qver hundred and forty pounds." Craig laughed. "It will be good pr,actice, anyway. Roll up a ,big score. Pull everyt hi ng we have. Make the practice count for some thing." Danny sighed. Craig, too, expected a large afternoon for the green and white. In uniform at last the boy moved toward the door. The coach halted him and took him aside. "Don't be afraid to experiment," Craig di rected. "They lack beef; you have no t hing to 150

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A MUFFED PUNT fear. If a play fails, find out why. Slam it to them again. Make it be good." Danny nodded. "How about kicking?" "Only on last down. And don't kick then if you think you have a play that will pick up the distance." Danny nodded again, and went through the door. "Phipps I" Craig came after him. "As soon as you've scored two or three times, don't hesitate to let Talmage try to boot them over if you get within kicking distance. He needs the prac tice." Danny's throat was dry. "Suppose we don't score two or three times?" "Go look at them," said Craig. Danny did not explain that he had already seen the Mt. Merry fellows. He went out to the field. Later, when the full quota of Manor Hall had come forth, he took the team out for signal drill. He thought that things ran a bit smoothly, but he knew that a signal drill and a real scrimmage have little in common. Things that seem smooth 151

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DANNY FISTS in practice, may look like the ragged edge of a saw in a grim battle. The captains went off with the referee to toss for choice of how to start the game-offensive or defensive. Talmage came back to his players grmnmg. "They kick. Get that ball and rush them straight down the field. Play hard, everybody. Keep that ball moving lively, Danny." "Lively it is," said Danny, bravely. The two elevens lined up for the kick-off. Then came a blare of sound from one part of the stands: "Tick-a-Jacka, tick-a-lacka, tick-a-Jacka, loo, Hong-chow, hong-chow, hong-chow, boo. :R.ah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, Phipps! Phipps! Phipps!" The freshmen had announced themselves. The referee's hand went up. "Ready, Mt. Merry? Ready, Manor?" The whistle shrilled. The Mt. Merry line came forward quietly, eas ily. Then the ball soared up into the clear air. The Mt. Merry ends raced away. The game was on. A cold moisture broke out on Danny's palms. 152

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I A MUFFED PUNT He watched the leather, prancing anxiously as it began to drop. Then it was in his arms "Left," cried Talmage. And Danny was away to the left. He saw a Mt. Merry player or two blocked off. Then a strong, tugging tackle caught him and he went down with a jerk. Instantly he was on his feet. "Line up, fellows. Lively, now. Line up. Signal!" He called the numbers. His hands were out. The ball came back with a jerk. He caught it fearfully and none too surely. His hands were in bad position for the pass, and the pass itself was bad. Talmage was thrown after a one-yard gain. "Smoother," he pleaded with Danny. "The opening was there. I'd have had ten yards if the ball had come when it should." Again Danny's voice called the signal. This time Baggs' pass was clean and steady. Right half tore eight yards through tackle on his own side. The stands cheered as one linesman almost stood upon the other linesman's toes. "Now for a first down," yelled a voice. Some of Dan ny's fear departed. That la11t 153

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DANNY FISTS pass was all that it should have been. He shrilled the next signal with more confidence. The pass was low .and wide and slow. And Mt. Merry came through, and Talmage, to whom the ball had gone, went down for a four-yard loss. It was fourth down and five yards to go. Some thing choked in Danny's throat. He gave the signal for a kick. The ball floated away to the waiting Mt. Merry backs. A group of Mt. Merry fellows in the stands let loose all the yell that ten throats were capable of. The visitors didn't waste much tiqie bucking this heavier line. Their first try lost them a yard, and their second attempt lost them two more. Then they kicked. It was Manor's ball again. "Do it this time, fellows," boomed a voice. And Danny, back of his own line, ran his hand along Baggs' canvas jacket. He put his hand there with the intent to create the best of good feeling." There was nothing in the action that should have irritated. Yet Baggs, to all appear ances, was irritated. His pass q1me hard and fast. Danny almost lost the ball. He got it 154

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A MUFFED PUNT away to his left half, but the half went down directly on the line of scrimmage. A voice groaned: "Second down. Ten yards to go." Baggs passed Danny. "Keep your hands away from me," he ordered in a low voice." Now, a quarter can so place himself that his center never feels easy about sending the ball. But Danny knew that his stand was right. He bent down again. He would make one more try to win Baggs over. His voice was almost pleading as he called the signal. Yet the leather came back to him in an uncertain, ragged way. The play gained two yards. "Oh, get in there, fellows," groaned Talmage. "This isn't a game of marbles. Start something!" Danny came back to the scrimmage line with his center. His voice had a queer break in it as he whispered: "Pull with me, Baggs; pull with me." "Take care of your own end," Baggs retorted. "I'll take care of mine." And the next play gained another weary two 155

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DANNY FISTS yards. Once more Talmage kicked. The ten Mt. Merry students threatened to rupture their throats. The end of the quarter found both teams score less. So, also, did the end of t he half. The athletes of the green and whit e r a n off to the locker roor:n. There, with a w a tc h in his hand, Craig ripped into them for not ha v ing scored be fore this. Two 'Varsity boys came out; and two substitutes went in, and Danny had a h e althy idea that he would have come out, too, had Chapman been in any shape to play. To the fiery, little quarter the game thus far was a bitter humiliation. He had been expected to lead the team to a big score, not only by the school but also by Craig. And up to the present the team had scored but one first down. He went out for the second half with the light of battle in his eyes. r "I'll get that ball to the backs," he vowed, "someway, somehow." He tried with all the desperate ardor of his .. hot, young soul. But still the passing from Baggs served to slow him up. His nerves, too, began 156

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I A MUFFED PUNT to snap under the strain. The end of the third quarter found _Manor Hall as far from Mt. ry's goal as she had been at any time during the afternoon. During the short rest Talmage changed the plan of b a ttle. "Make it a kicking game," he orde red. "I can out-kick their man. We'll kick until we get inside the thirty-yard line. Then we must go o v er. Here, you ends; when I kick cover that ball." And so the green and white, facing a far, far lighter team, came down to kicking to save its life. Dann y could feel his eyes burn with unshed tears. Each time a signal for the kick came, he stepped far aside so that Baggs would not be bothered in m aking the pass. Talmage grim mouthed, kicked out his heart for distance. Slow ly Manor Hall began to creep toward a possible score. Then, with her chance almost in sight, a brisk breeze sprang up. It was at Mt. Merry's back, and it h e lped the Mt. Merry full wonderfully in his punting. He began to outboot Talmage. Thct 157

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DANNY FISTS green and white retreated. Danny's shoulders shook. That was the turning point. Manor Hall collapsed. Into her line the lighter Mt. Merry lads tore, and here and there they began to m a k e gains. They took the ball to the forty-yard line. There Manor held. The Mt. Merry full prepared to kick. Danny, as he dropped back, knew in his heart that Manor's chance to win was gone. He knew, too, that the school would blame him, for was not he the untried quarter, the ex p e riment? Some his own superb courage had disappeared in the last few minutes. He wanted to do so much for the green and white, and, instead, had done so little. The full kicked. Danny, with jumping nerves, stood under the ball as it came down. He' was almost on his own goal line. The thought that he might muff did not enter his head. T h e n the ball was in his arms-and then it was out, and his heart was in his throat. He threw himself sprawling in an attempt to cover the leather before it could rebound. The 158

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A MUFFED PUNT oval got away from him. He saw a Mt. Merry end scoop it on the run. Danny jerked himself up. There was a wild roaring from the stands. He made a blind clutch at that lucky end. He fell. He knew he had missed. In the Manor Hall sections there was silence. Ten delirious boys shrieked with crazy joy: "Mt. Merry! Mt. Merry! Mt. Merry! Rah, rah, rah, Rah, rah, rah, Rah, rah, rah, Mt. Merry!" The green and white eleven, hopeless, stunned, ranged off back of the goal line. Mt. Merry missed its try. Before the ball could be brought out the final whistle sounded. Ten boys prompt ly spilled themselves out of the stands and had a "hip-hip-hip" parade around the field all by themselves. The Manor Hall team went slowly to the locker room. Danny, flushed and shamed, brought up the rear. Inside the gym Craig met hfa discoura.g7d boys. 159

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DANNY FISTS "You played poor ball," he said, "and I think I know where the trouble lies." The squad moved as though each boy was weighing himself in the balance. Danny kept his eyes on the tops of his shoes. "Phipps !11 cried the coach suddenly. Danny did not raise his head. What could be seen of his face was fiery red. "That was a marvelous catch," the coach cried wrathfully. "There on your own goal line-and you threw the game away. A tie game would have been bad enough, but a defeat-What do you expect to do against heavier teams if a shad ow outfit like Mt. Merry can hold you at will? And then to muff at such a time I It was the worst football play I have ever seen. I hope I shall never see another like it. You knew the danger, Phipps. Why didn't you hug that ball? Why didn't you hug it? Why didn't you hug it?" Danny did not answer. The locker room was ghastly still. Craig, after a "'o/hile, turned away. "That's all," he said, quietly. "Dress." They went hastily to their lockers. Danny'i shame had given place to anger. Baggs had up-1 6 0

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A MUFFED PUNT set his game; Baggs had upset the play of the whole team. Yet not a word of censure had gone to the center. Danny glanced down the length of the room. Baggs, in front of his locker, did not appear to have a care in the world. The quarter felt a wild desire to rush over and have it ou't with this boy who had brought him so much trouble. But that would mean explanations, and explanations were the one thing that Danny did not want to give. He left the locker room without bothering to put on his collar. Neither did he comb his hair. Outside he found Ralph Dutton waiting for him. \ "I'm sick of the whole game," Danny burst out, wrathfully. Ralph's glance was curious. "Did Craig go for you?" "Yes." "Forget it." Danny sighed mournfully. "That's easy to say, but-" "It's easy to do. Remember your first day at Manor, Danny? Remember the fight? When 161

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DANNY FISTS Baggs reached you with his left that first time it looked as though the scrap was over. But you kept plugging, and you reached him in the end. That's the way it will be with football, too." "Why do you drag Baggs into this?" Danny asked, suspiciously. Dutton laughed. "Just a comparison," he an swered, lightly. "I'm a great comparer." Danny had an acute feeling that his room mate suspected that Baggs had had much to do with Manor Hall's defeat.

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\ CHAPTER IX DANNY SHOWS FORM DUTTON, however, said nothing more about Baggs. They came to the yard, went up to No. 5 2 of the dormitory building, and there Danny combed his hair and adjusted his collar and tie, Dutton made vigor ous use of soap and water. At length they came down to the dining hall. There, for the first time, Danny learned what it meant to be the sus- pected cause of a football defeat at Manor Hall. I He wasn't exactly snubbed. But fellows looked I at him gloomily, and others, who spoke to him, said, "Hello, Danny," as though they feared the words would choke them. Even Cross, the cap tain of the freshman team, gazed at him sadly. "Huh!" snapped Danny. "Why don't you wear a black band on ,your arm and go into mourning." "We should have won," croaked Cross. 163

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DANNY FISTS "And we would have won, too," cried Danny, hotly, "if-" "If what?" asked Cross. "If we had won," said Danny, and went down to his table. He left Cross standing there pon dering deeply. Danny's depression would have passed had he known that Craig regretted the words he had spoken in the locker room. Craig was no man's fool. He had sense enough to know that some thing Baggs and Phipps must have caused the smashup in the Manor Hall machinery. He knew that Baggs was loyal to the green and white. He knew that Danny was loyal, too. Then, what had happened in the game must have been the thing that he had feared and had lectured the boys about. In the classroom and in the y ard there was always talk of chaps who "couldn't g e t along together." That seemed to be about the status of center and quarter. They cou ldn't get along together. They meant well, but they clashed. And the clash, as Craig saw it, must have unstrung Danny. The team hadn't gone right, and 16.+

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DANNY SHOWS FORM the quarter had lost his nerve. That was the only way to account for the fatal muff. "I hope," the coach thou ght aloud, "he doesn't take my lecture too much to heart." But Danny did take it to heart, and in the next few days he woke up to the fact that he had completely lost his nerve in catching. Now, when a man in the back-field muffs a punt in the ordinary practice, the muff does not affect him materially. He may be disgusted for a mo ment. The coach may even bark a sharp criti cism. On the whole, however, there is no reason why the back should not catch the next punt, or the one following that. There is nothing very much at stake, and his nerves are in a quiet con dition. But all this is changed when a quarterback, standing in the shadow of his own goal in a game, makes a muff that results in a winning score for the other team. From that time on, unless the quarter is an exceptional boy, there is going to be trouble every time he goes after a kick. ,, Sometimes a boy will recover instantly from a mischance of that kind; and if he catches the next 165

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DANNY FISTS ball or two, back will come his courage and he will continue to catch the leather successfully. In that case, there is little danger that he will muff a kick in the next game. But if, after that fatal miss, the next ball jumps away from him, the captain and the coach can begin to make up their minds that that particular quarter is gone for a week or more. Danny was not an introspective boy. He wasn't one, usually, to worry about himself. Yet, hav ing made that muff against Mt. Merry, the feel ing that he would muff again came to him when ever he saw the ball sailing toward him. He felt he would muff it; he knew he would muff it. What was worse, he did muff it. In practice he kept missing one or two out of every three. It seemed impossible for him to regain his courage and his confidence. Craig muttered glumly as he saw this boy who had promised to prove a find going wrong. Dutton tried his best to cheer his room-mate. Daily, though, Danny cal1'le to the room after missing his usual number of punts. He began to 166

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I DANNY SHOWS FORM stalk around grim and dogged, but plainly much discouraged. In this fashion four or five days passed. Craig began to figure that it would be wise to secure another substitute quarterback; for, even though Danny might begin to run the team with a dash, he would be of little use were he dropping punts. With his hands deep in his pockets and his head bent, Craig took the path leading to the yard. Suddenly a voice broke in on his "How goes it, Craig?" The coach swung around. Off to one side stood Arnold R. Baggs, known to every old Manor Hall man as "A. R." Rumor said that he was the best back-field man Manor had ever developed; the best captain the Manor 'Varsity had ever had. And rumor also said that at Yale he had been a mountain of strength for two years to the eleven of the blue. Craig shook hands gladly. "Going over to see Don?" he asked. "Just came from his room," answered the older man. "I thought I'd drop in and see you." "Fine," cried the coach, heartily. They went 167

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' DANNY FISTS on toward the coach's rooms. There they dis cussed the elevens that had been turned out by the big colleges. Finally the talk drifted back to Manor's team. "How are they?" asked Mr. Baggs. "I hear that Monroe has a corking team, and that Frank lin is pretty fast, too." "We're not a slow lot," said Craig. "If we can patch up a place or t wo-" "The boy?" said Mr. Baggs, quickly. Craig shook his head. "No. Don is a pretty good center. Quarter is what troubles me." Mr. Baggs whistled. "How about Chapman?" "He'll play in the next game, but I'm begin ning to think he isn't there with everything he ought to have. I had a freshman kid as substi tute, and I had great hopes for him. In the Mt. Merry game he dropped a punt. He's been off his game since." Mr. Baggs was interested. "Lost his nerve, eh?" "Yes." "Bad case?" "Worse than bad." 168

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t DANNY SHOWS FORM The old graduate chuckled. "I've seen cases like that. I've seen them cured, too. We had a quarter who muffed in a big game and went to pieces. We had to play a man in his place the next week. But we cured him." "How?" Craig asked, eagerly. "Tut, tut. Let me try things first. If I fail you will have to get somebody else. If it does work I'll tell you how it is done. Then you can save the medicine for future nervous quarter backs." "This boy isn't nervous," said Craig. "That is, he isn't what you think of when you say 'nerboy.' He is high strung, but he isn't wobbly." Mr. Baggs nodded. "All right. Give me a look at him. When?" "To-morrow?" Craig asked. "How about to-night?" The coach stood up. "Supper is about We'll go now." Over in No. 5 2 Danny was giving a splendid exhibition of a young student in the act of being studious. He was crouched in a chair; his shoul ders were hunched; his hands were twitched int0< 169

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DANNY FISTS his red hair; a book was before him. On closer inspection, however, the idea of study faded, for Danny's eyes were not on the book. His mind was dreaming of a football play, and he was won dering if the d e fensive halfback could be put out at a particular spot. Then a knock sounded on the door. Dutton, reclining on one of the beds, sprang hastily to his feet. He, too, had had a book, but his thoughts had been on Danny and whether Danny would get another chance this year. "Come in," he called. Craig entered. At the coach's heels came an older man whom Ralph did not know. "Hello, boys," called Craig. "This is Don Baggs' father. Dutton, Mr. Baggs; and this is Phipps." The man shook hands with the boys. Danny wondered what was coming. Baggs' father cer tainly wasn't there, he thought, to do Don Baggs any harm. But the talk, instead of running to Don Baggs, ran to football in general. Craig could see a puzzled light in the eyes of Dutton and Danny. 170

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DANNY SHOWS FORM "I guess," he laughed, "they're wondering why you're here, A. R." "Manor's old halfback?" gasped Dutton. "There's a picture of him downstairs. I didn't know he was Don Baggs' father." "The fellow who drop-kicked a goal from the forty-yard line," whispered Danny in an awed voice. "He's a pretty old 'fellow'," Craig reproved. "Oh I" Danny flushed. "I'm sorry-" "I'm not," cried Baggs' father, heartily. "I'm glad that kick is remembered. But forty yards isn't so much. A chap named Haxall once kicked a goal from the sixty-five-yard line." "Drop-kick?" Danny demanded. "Placement," Mr. Baggs answered. "It was back in l 8 8 21 a Yale-Princeton game and-" "Huh!" said Danny., "We're talking about preparatory schools. I guess forty yards is al most a record for a prep school." Mr. Baggs chuckled. Plainly Danny's loyalty had pleased him, and Craig was delighted. Soon the coach turned to Dutton. "Come on, Ralph. Let's take a walk. I want 171 J

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DANNY FISTS to talk to you. I'm going to leave you with Phipps, A. R. I'll be back in half an hour." "Fine I" smiled Mr. Baggs. "I'd like nothing better than to chat with the boy who think:> I'm a hero-that is, if there's no objection to smok ing in this room." "You won't find any material here," said Dutton. "We don't-'' "Or won't while you're at Manor," said Craig, sharply. "I carry my ammunition with me," laughed the old back. He pulled out a pipe and a tobacco pouch. Dutton and Craig left. the man filled the pipe. Danny, un easy in the presence of so much greatness, fidgeted about in his chair. "I understand Craig has been trying you at quarter," the man began. "He was." Danny sighed. "I guess I'm through." Mr. Baggs pretended to be surprised. "How is that?" "Oh, I just lost my nerve catching punts." 172

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DANNY SHOWS FORM Danny started the explanation with a brave smile, but his voice trembled a t t he end. "Lost your nerve?" a s k e d Mr. Baggs "That is bad, isn't it? But it isn't uncommon. I used to be as n e rvous as a thin witch, but I always had pretty g ood luck. W hat's wrong? Do you get under them all right?" "Yes; th a t part's all right. I guess i t 's just plain muff "Maybe n o t. Have you tried any different way of c a tching?" Danny stared. "Is there more than one way?" "Many w a y s," replied Mr. Baggs, emphatic ally "The re are a great many good ones, and a grdt many bad ones The trouble is that some men can catch the ball every time in a bad way, and other men cannot catch it once in a dozen times in a good way There's no such thing as ( one way to catch a football." Danny' s e yes had begun to sparkle "Do you mean, sir, tha t my form may be wrong? That aside from t hat I may be all right?" T h e m an laughed "Not so fast, Phipps. I haven't seen you in action yet. But you l ook like 1 7 3

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DANNY FISTS a player. Here, I'm a bit rusty, but I ran kick a bit at that. Suppose we go out to-morrow morn ing? I'll kick to you, and we'll see where the trouble is." "I'd like to," answered Danny, eagerly. He had lost all fear of his famous visitor. "I can be at the field at eleven o'clock." "Eleven it is," cried the man. "Now, let's get down to the team." Danny felt a sinking of the heart. Was the man going to ask about Don Baggs? But the questions and the talk went off on another angle entirely. "How does the line show up?" the man ask.ed. "Is it heavy?" "No," answered Danny. "But it's aggressive!' "Ah I That's the stuff to have. A light, ag gressive chap is better every minute than a meal bag, especially when you get out to the tackles' positions. How's the back-field? Fast?" "One is." "Who's that?" "Lee. He's the fastest runner in school. He can get out to the end of the line like lightning. 174

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DANNY SHOWS FORM If he gets any interference at all he'll get past. He can't plunge, though. He isn't hard to tackle when you hit him." "Well," observed Mr. Baggs, "Craig ought to make something out of his speed." They talked on, and the man smoked two pipe fuls. Then Craig and Dutton came back, and the former 'Varsity star departed. "What kind of chap is he?" Dutton asked, curiously. "He doesn't act like Baggs' father," answered Danny. Ralph grinned. "Wonder how he'd pass the ball, Danny?" The quarter felt a wave of confusion. He had let slip a bit too much. "I'm not talking about passing," he said, stifHy. Next morning at eleven o'clock Danny raced to the gym. Mr. Baggs, in footb a ll clothes, was there wai t ing. The boy had an i n stinctive feel ing that the man must ha v e be e n a r e al athlete in his youth. He still had much of t he lines, and looked hard and rugged. When they c am e out on the field the man began to punt. He got the 175

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DANNY FISTS ball off easily, and with a fine, clean swing, catch ing the oval on his instep and sending it high or low, or with a spiral, without any appare nt effort "I guess you could kick them from the fortyyard line now," Danny volunteered. Mr. Baggs chuckled. "Let's see you try to catch a few." Danny went down the field. The man kicked. Danny droppe d the ball. He also drop ped three out of the next five. Then Mr. Baggs came toward him. "The first thing for you to do," he said, "is to restrain your ardor," Danny looked uneasy. "Why, I thought that a fellow had to play with his whole heart." "I don't mean that sort of ardor," said the man. "As soon as my foot hits the b all you beto scamper around. That's wron g As soon as my foot hits the ball get an idea o f the direc tion. Then commence to move toward the spot, not violently where you think th e ball will drop. Catchin g punts is not like catchin g in a base ball outfield. There the fielder mu s t start speed ily with the crack of the bat; but you must re-176

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DANNY SHOWS FORM member that an outfielder in baseball must use speed, for he has a lot of territory to cover and a baseball comes more rapidly than a football. Remember that." "Y "d D es, sir, sa1 anny. "Another thing. Usually on a punt in a foot ball game you have two men back. You may not have t wo men on the full distanc e back; but in that case you have a man who can take the short ones, while you look after the long ones. It takes a ball a long time to cover the forty or fifty yards of a punt. Under the present rules, were a punt coming in such a way that you would have to go after it like a baseball outfielder-that is, run at full speed all the way and then only be able to just reach the ball-it would be wiser not to try to take the ball on the fly." "I see," said Danny "Hold on!" cried Mr. Baggs "That doesn't mean that I am in favor of a back letting fly balls bound if he can catch them But remember this: the ball hitting the ground puts no body on side, while the ball that hits you puts your opponents on side. So if there is any doubt that you can 177 I

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, DANNY FISTS reach the ball, let it go and then take your time getting it after it has hit the ground." Danny nodd e d once more. He began to wonder what all this had to do with the way he muffed. "Now," said the man, "this all bears on that too-hurri e d start you make, and the way you skitter a \ round. You use up a lot of energy by start ing at one angle, and then changing and starting at another. Learn to st'art easily. Judge the ball. Then get under it, not hurriedly, but com fortably. Don't run like a hundred-yard sprinter for ten or fifteen yards, and then stand there un comfortably motionless and watch the ball come down. If you get there easily you won't have so much time to wait and worry and think. You won't even be excited when you get there. That is the first proposition. Fix that in your head. Steady down a little. Steady down." Danny began to see that there was more of a science to catching punts than he had ever be lieved. "Now I'm going to show you," the man con tinued, "how I want you to g et the ball to-day and 178

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DANNY SHO\VS FORM to-morrow. After that you will find that you won't muff any more. I have no objection to your catching the ball in your hands as you do. Some players catch more in the arms. However, if you put yourself in the right position, you are just as safe with the hands, and it seems to be more natural for you to catch that way. But I don't want those hands stuck out, nor do I want you to hold your body so rigid when you catch. Bring your hands in closer to your body. This way. See?" Mr. Baggs illustrated. Danny watched the operation with parted lips. "As the ball comes down, bend your body this way and keep your elbows in." Here Mr. Baggs put his hands in such a position -that, with his body and elbows iri, there was a complete pocket for the ball. The only way it could possibly get away, Danny saw, would be by going through his hands, striking his body, and shooting down through his arms. "There's another trick I want to show you. When you lean over and take the ball in your hands and in the pocket formed by your body, it 179

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r DANNY FISTS is not a ba d plan to lift your leg a little." Mr. Baggs dre w up one leg so that it formed a complete bo ttom to the space below his arms. "Ah!" sa i d Danny. "See it?" "Yes, sir." "Good I The idea is this: If a ball is to get away at a ll, it must hit the bottom of that pocket and then bounce out over your ha n ds a n d arms. You may ju g gle on the catch, but you still hold the ball. Then, too, by bending your bo n y a:!d making it less rig id, there is no d a nger of the ball hitting your body and bounding aw ay from you. Toss a ball in the air for me a few times. I'll show you." Danny tossed the ball. Mr. B agg s caught it deftly. Danny realized that it wa'> almost im possible fo r the o v al to get away fro m the com bined arms, body and leg. "Sup p o s e I throw some in the a i r for you?" the man a s k ed. Danny no dde d eagerly. The man to s s e d the ball. Soo n Danny dis covered that the art wasn't as easy as it had 180

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DANNY SHOWS FOR M seemed. At first he messed t hings up badly. After a dozen or so throws, thou gh he b e gan to feel easier. He could get the b a ll in his hands, and at the same time bow his body a n d keep his arms m. He didn't, however, g e t t h e knack of lifting his l e g. "Here," cried Mr. Baggs; "let the ball go through your hands this time and hit "our leg. See what happens." What happened was that the ball bounced straight up and away from the boy. Danny looked bewildered. "You tried to catch it altogether on your leg,'' Mr. Baggs explained, "and you jerked the leg up too rapidly and too high. Just bring the leg up gradually. It's only there to fill the last chance for the ball's escape. Try again." And on the next catch Danny saw clearly the prihcipal of the thing. Ten minutes later he was catching easily and well. "That's all for to-day," said the man. "Tomorrow I'll kick to you and see how you come through." They went back, to the locker room. 181

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DANNY FISTS "And that man," thought Danny, "is Don Baggs' father." Next day Mr. Baggs kicked, and Danny, for half an hour, caught everything that came to him. At first he was nervous and uncertain. After that h .is courage came, and at the finish he strutted to the gym with a careless swagger. The boy from Westbrook was his old cocky self again. And, in the next few days, the school woke up to the fact that "Phipps was getting them:" / Mr. Baggs, standing beside Craig, chuckled as he watched his pupil. ul guess I've brought him around, Craig," he said. "And a good job you made of it, too," said the coach. He had hopes for Danny again. He would have been even more delighted had he known that Mr. Baggs had told his son that Danny had the makings of a football star, and that young Baggs had gasped in surprise. True, Craig was aware that Don Baggs watched the substitute quarter in a puzzled way, but he atsignificance to that. Though the coach was pleased with Danny's 182 I

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DANNY SHOWS FORM showing, he spoke no words of praise. He knew that the boy wasn't of the brooding type, and he saw no reason why the qua ,rter should not eat the bread of doubt for a while. So, though Danny got short workouts with the 'Varsity, he received little attention. Yet his heart rejoiced, for he had a feeling that Baggs' passing was a shade more consistent than it had been in the past. The second game on the schedule, that with Creskill Academy, was played on a damp, drizzly day. Manor won easily, but Danny did not get a chance. All the following week he zealously went after punts in an effort to convince Craig that he had found himself again. But Chapman played all through the game with Lincoln School, and Danny, at the finish, walked to the locker room scowling and glum. In the few days that followed he became mo rose. He knew that he would make good if he had another chance; he knew that he would make good, somehow, even if Baggs still threw him off with uneven passing. And so came the fourth with Meade as the opponents. Meade was generally weak at football. This. 183

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DANNY FISTS year was no exception. Manor scored four times in the first half, and Talmage kicked three goals. Two more scores came in the third quarter. The elevens stopped for their short rest. "Phipps I" called Craig. Danny sprang from where he was lined with the other substitutes. "Play this quarter," said the coach. Danny raceq out wild-eyed. "Good boy," said Chapman. "Soak it to them. Don't get too free with their right end. __He's the best they have." "I'll remember that," Danny promised, gratefully. Then he saw a host of other substitutes romp out. With them came Orth, the substitute center. Danny didn't stop to think that he had gone in merely because the rest of t he substitutes had gone in. He was satisfied with things as they w ere. He had a chance to prove himself. And in that last quarter he drove the team with savage vim. He pleaded, he encou r aged, he begg e d. The boys sprang into their plays with flashing speed. The passing of Orth wa s the best tha t Danny had ever known, and five times Man184

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DANNY SHOWS FORM or plugged its way to the goal line. The game became a slaughter. The Mea d e coach whispered with Cra i g Craig nodded; and a merciful whistle cut t h re e full minutes out of the game. Manor Hall che ered Meade; Meade cheered Manor Hall. The tired elevens moved toward the gym. Danny, his heart swelling with the knowledge of work well done, wanted to be alone for a while. He lingered in the rear. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Good work," Craig's voice. Danny back with a happy smile. The man's fingers tightened. 1"Danny," he said, "I'm glad."

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CHAPTER X 'A CHANGE IN DEFENSE PRIDE and joy filled Danny's heart as he dressed in the locker room. True, he had gone in against a beaten eleven, but he had shown that he could drive his team. Bet ter than that, Craig had given him a smile of 1 warm friendship. Danny's shoulder still tingled where the coach's fingers had clutched. And to the boy, that clutch meant even more than the smile. To-day again, he found Dutton waiting for him. This time they romped home happily in the fall twilight. "Makes all the difference in the world who's passing the ball, doesn't it?" Ralph ask ed. Danny shook his head. "You mustn't say that, Dut." Ralph laughed good-naturedly. "All right; but I'll think it." 186

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\ A CHANGE IN DEFENSE Danny couldn't object to that. He told his room-mate how Craig had acted after the game. "Whee!" Ralph threw up his hat and cheered. "This has been a great day for you, hasn't it?" Danny nodded soberly. In the dining hall that night the fellows treated Danny as though they were beginning to hope for him again. Baggs kept his eyes on his plate; but Reggie Clarke, Baggs' room-mate, cast scowl ing sneers at the substitute quarterback. "What have I done to him?" Danny wondered. Later, when he told Dutton about Clarke, Ralph snorted disdainfully. '"Don't worry about him," he advised. "He's a no-good sort. He tried for the nine a year ago and was dropped from the squad, and since then he's been jealous of every fellow who gets ahead with Craig. I guess he puts bugs in Baggs' ear, ,, too." "About what?" "Lot of things, maybe. Perhaps about you." "I'd wallop him in the eye if I thought so," cried Danny, hotly. "I have enough trouble with Baggs without anybody sticking in an oar and-" 187

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DANNY FISTS "Ah I" said Ralph, gleefully. "Let the cat slip that time, didn't you, Danny?" The quarterback colored with confusion. "I don't mean trouble in a football way," he scowled. "What way?" Dutton insisted; but Danny would say no more. Two games were left on the schedule. The Franklin game came the following Saturday, and a week later came the season's big battle-the clash with Monroe Academy. Franklin played two games a week, and got more of the real crash of football than Manor. She had gone through her season thus far with an unbroken string of victories, and she generally had won by big scores. A rumor had gone round that her back-field was fast and driving. The Manor boys, however, refused to be frightened. Yet Craig was secretly uneasy. Monday, when 'Varsity practice was resumed, Danny went out with a confident swagg e r. Be cause he felt that he was once more in the good graces of the coach, his courage had come back in full. To-day he watched, and with no dark 188

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE thoughts running through his brain, he gave heed only to the play on the field. Against Meade he had three times called for plays on which center snapped the ball directly to the back who was to make the run. The plays had failed, and he had speedily abandoned them. Now he watched critically every time one of thes e plays was called. After a while Craig came over to he stood. "Get in there, Danny," he ordered. "Oh, please, I'd rather st;iy here and watch," Danny answered, before he thought. The coach's face darkened. Suddenly he smiled. "What are you watching?" "Those plays where center snaps the ball di rectly to the backs." "You didn't use them much against Meade, did you?" "No.". Craig rubbed his chin thoughtfully. He was always glad to get an outside opinion provided the opinion was intelligent. He had realized for several days that these particular plays were not going with the force he had expected. Was it 189

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DANNY FISTS possible that this freshman kid might stumble on the reason? "All right," he said, brusquely. "Watch." Danny remained on the lines during the afternoon. The practice over, he waited for Craig. The coach came past him deep in thought, and as usual muttering to himself. "I don't see why Lee,'' he mused aloud, "cannot get out beyond tackle quicker. He gets there just in time to be a second too late." "Mr.-Mr. Craig," said Danny, timidly. Craig's head came up. "Did you speak to me, Danny?" "Yes, sir; I-" "Never mind the 'sir'. What is it?" "If Lee can't get out there nobody can. Lee's a mighty fast man." Craig frowned. "You mean the play is wrong?" Danny had his courage now. "Not exactly that," he answered, boldly, "for we have one or two other plays that are little like it and they all right. Only-" 'Only what?" "Only the ball goes through the quarter." 190

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE Craig whistled, softly. "So! Don't you think a back ought to make the line quicker when the ball is passed directly to him?" "That's just where the trouble is," Danny an swered. "You mean the center doesn't give the back a good pass?" Craig demanded, darkly. Was this boy "knocking" a fellow-player? r "No," said Danny, promptly. "But I noticed that the back has to wait for the ball, or else the ball has to pass considerably ahead him. if he starts the instant it is snapped. I think that he can get there quicker if the ball comes through the quarter, because the quarter can take a step or two while the back is starting. That will help Lee, for one thing, to get out quicker." "Hum!" mumbled Craig. An instant later he said: "Many football men think the direct pass is quicker." "Well, if you have the center throw the ball far enough ahead of him so that he can get a running start, then it would be quicker." Craig stood there thinking deeply. Danny be-gan to lose heart.

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DANNY FISTS "Of course," he added, "I don't know much about it-" "We'll try your plan to-morrow," the coach broke in, abruptly. Danny raced away. Try his plan to-morrow! Then Craig must think that there might be some thing to the suggestion. Next day the 'Varsity went against the seniors for four seven-minute quarters. Chapman, fear ing that. he was slipping behind in physics, laid off for the day, and Danny had the quarter's place to himself. To-day Baggs' passing didn't interest him. In fact, he hardly gave it a thought. Before the 'Varsity went out, Craig explained how on that one particular play the ball would go through quarter instead of directly from the center. Before the 'Varsity-senior game was two min utes old, Danny called for the play. Lee skinned past the tackle, and on for fifteen yards. Craig, watching intently, clapped his hands against his thighs. "The kid's right," he muttered.' Danny tried the same play four more times 192

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE that afternoon. Once it was stopped. Three times it gained substantially. After the game Craig drew Danny aside in the locker room. "Meeting in my rooms to-night,'1 said the coach. "Come over." The captains of the various teams, and some of the quarters, were always invited to these meet ings. They were Manor Hall's football coun cils of war. Heretofore, however, Danny had never been asked to attend. He stared blankly. "M-me ?" he gasped. "You," said Craig, and smiled. When Danny arrived that night he felt like a cat in a strange garret. Craig and Talmage and Chapman were there. Cross and the three other 1 class captains sprawled in chairs. The class quar terbacks were there, too, with the exception of the quarter from the freshman team. Danny's head buzzed with embarrassment. He took a rear seat. Football talk ran on for ten or fifteen minutes. Soon the boy forgot about himself. His eager ears drank in every word, 193

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DANNY FISTS and after a while he began to see p1ays in a way that put them in a new light. Finally Craig rapped on the arm of his chair. The room became still. "We are going to take up," the coach announced, the question of passing the ball through the quarter instead of direct. That is why I have asked Phipps here to-night. He suggested the change, and it certainly worked this afternoon." Danny felt the hot blood in his cheeks. Some of the fellows stared at him in a questioning way. But Chapman smiled good-naturedly, and Cross I smiled with "Tell the meeting, Danny, what you told me," Craig invited. "Go to it, Danny," cried Cross. Danny's tongue seemed to stick to the roof of his mouth. Presently he recovered himself enough to say: "I saw that Lee had to wait every time before he got the ball. He had to start from a standing position. I thought the quarter way would be faster." 194

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE "That's the whole problem in a nutshell," said Craig. "Why is it faster?" asked the senior captain. "When a quarter," Danny explained, "gets the ball and starts with it, the halfback starts at the same time. He takes the ball while on the run, because he starts as soon as the ball is snapped." Craig nodded approval. "That's right. E think we had better have the 'Varsity and all the teams that are practicing that play put the ball through the quarter." "But," cried the senior captain; "but won't that give the play away?" "I thought of that," Craig answered, "and l'm sure it will not. If the quarter stands as Phipps stands, the opponents can't tell." Now the g a thering began to stare at Danny with respectful eyes. Cross smiled again. "I don't b e lieve they can tell whether I'm going to pass to right or to left halfback on that particular pl a y," D a nny said. "They may be able l to tell::' on some other plays; but as long as I get a chance to take a step after I get the ball, I can stand so th e y can't t e ll which way I am going to 195

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DANNY FISTS start. It is different on a straight line plunge. There it makes a pretty close thing of it." The senior captain nodded slowly. "I guess the quarter pass is better," and with this the meeting agreed. Danny left with Cross. "You're coming fast, kid," chirped the freshman captain. "We're proud of you." Franklin was to play a match on W ednesdar at Nutley, and Wednesday morning Craig dis appeared. Talmage ran that afternoon's prac tice. At supper the word ran around that Cr_ aig was back. Later Talmage stopped Danny. "Another meeting to-night," he whispered. "Craig says to come over." Danny went gladly. As soon as they were all there Craig announced that he had seen Frank lin play Nutley that afternon, at Nutley. "How a re they?" Chapman demanded. "Fast," said Craig. "Their speed was a reve lation." "What's their specialty?" a voice asked. "A split tandem," Craig answered "It's migh ty hard to t e ll which side of the center the real attack is going to hit, and which side is go196

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE ing to get the fake interference. They line up fast and they shoot the ball quick. Sometimes the first man has the ball and they rip a snap open ing for him. Then again that same man comes, ducks, apparently takes the ball as he did before and strikes in that same opening. But he hasn't the ball, and the man behind him gets the ball and shoots the other side of Sometimes the tackle and guard both get the opposing guard and shove him one side or the other. Of course, there is nothing new about this; but the speed with which those fellows play makes all the dif ference in the world. Besides, they have a couple of short, stumpy backs who come low and hard, and keep going until they're actually knocked / down. They put it all over Nutley to-day.11 The rooIII settled into uncomfortable silence. Talmage cleared his throat. "What's the answer?" he asked. "We must get up a defense against this split tandem, 11 answered Craig. "If we don't, they'll hustle us up and down the field." I I Talmage whistled uneasily. "Can't we block-" 4'The center? No. They have a good run 197

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DANNY FISTS outside tackle. Bring the tackles in, and Frank lin would swing out for long gains." There was another spell of silence. Craig took a small blackboard from a closet and hung it on a wall peg. "Here's the play," he said. "Study it." The boys stared with wrinkled brows. "How did Nutley play its center on defense?" Talmage asked. "They dropped him back a bit," Craig an swered. "Did anybody take him?" "Sometimes. The Franklin center, after snap ping the ball, would charge straight through at him, but he would dodge, as he had every advan tage. The big trouble was that Nutley center didn't dodge to the right side." "Couldn't he see where the play was going?" Craig chuckled. "He thougp.t he could for a while. Two o:r; three times he got the fake runner instead of tJ:ie man with the ball. After a time he waited a little longer. This helped him to stop things up, but th.e Franklin gams were pretty good just the same 198

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE "Perhaps Baggs could stop it," Talmage hint ed. "We play him back a little." "Nutley's center was pretty good," answered Craig. "If he couldn't break things up, I don't see that Baggs could-not the way Franklin played to-day." Danny itched to speak. He had studied the diagram on the blackboard, but he felt that he should keep his lips closed unless he was asked for an opinion. The eager look in his face, how: ever, caught the coach's eyes. "What do you think about this, Danny?" Craig asked. "I wish I had seen the play," the boy answered. I "What do you want to know that I haven't-stated?" Craig demanded, sharply. Danny felt an implied criticism. Yet he an. swered, stoutly: "Did the Nutley guards charge in?" "Yes." "Well, wasn't that just what Franklin wanted? I didn't see the play, but didn't they just about invite the guards to charge in? Wouldn't that 199

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DANNY FISTS open up additional space between the guards and the center?" Craig ran quick fingers through his h a ir. "Put that on the blackboard," he orde r e d. Danny had never before made a blackboard explanation, and the coach's command sent a lump into his throat. Nevertheless, he marched bravely to the front of the room, and was glad that Cross and Chapman patted his arms as he passed. He felt better w hen he reached the board. He made three big, white crosses. "What are they?" Craig demanded "Center and guards," Danny answered. "Well?" "If Franklin knew that the Nutley guards would charge, and if Franklin let them come a little, that would widen the space between the center and the guard on either side. What I mean is, that the space is greater when the play really starts than it is before the b a ll is snapped. If they can be sure that the guards are going to charge e v ery time, they can play first on one side and then on the other. Do you see?" zoo

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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE Danny faced the players. Here and there heads nodded. "But," said Craig, "you can't tell the guards to stand still." That seemed to be a poser. Danny stood for lornly beside the blackboard. Suddenly the 1 coach slapped his knee. "Here I" he cried. "I have it. Of course, if the guards stand still those fellows will get the jump on us all the time. Suppose we try this: Have the guards give a lunge as though they were going forward. Have them shove their opponents back if they can. Then let them stand still." "That's it," cried Danny. Craig smiled. "See it, do you?" "Yes. If the guards do that, and if the center stands up a little closer, the hole won't be as big." Craig tossed a piece of chalk toward the ceil ing and kicked the piece as it came down. "We'll try this to-morrow." He glanced at Talmage: "How does it look to you?" "Looks good to me," said Talmage, heartily. 20I

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DANNY FISTS Chapman smiled softly. "Brainy kid," he whispered. Craig turned to Hauser, the junior captain. "Can you have your team out at t w o o'clock tomorrow afternoon?" Hauser nodded slowly. "I guess so." "Good I Have them on the field. I'll coach them for an hour." When at three-thirty o'clock next afternoon the ,Varsity lined up against the juniors, Talmage was not surprised. "Juniors keep the ball," said Craig. Again and again the class team tried Franklin's split tandem play, as Craig had taught it to them. Soon Craig saw that Danny was right. If the guards lunged, and pushed their opponents a bit, and then stayed in the opening low and well spread out, they generally got the runner. '.And this also gave Baggs a chance, even though he played fairly close to the line, to shoot if the play went out wider. Chapman-good, open-hearted Chapman--' saw all this with knowing eyes. After the prac
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A CHANGE IN DEFENSE "I'd like to know what I'm doing as the 'Vars ity quarter," he complained. "That chap Phipps should be running things. He's a wonder." And Craig, without meaning to, nodded once or twice.

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CHAPTER XI DANNY'S DEFENSE C RAIG was quite ready to admit that for a boy playing real football for the first time Danny was indeed a wonder. Yet, in his heart, he refused to consider the idea of Danny as quarter in the two big games that were to come. His smile, however, as he patted Chapman's shoulder, was tender. For Chapman showed the spirit that he saw too seldom in young 1 boys-die spirit that was willing to sacrifice self for the good of a common cause. "Danny hasn't had the experience, Chappie," he said, gently. "He has everything else," Chapman answered, stoutly. They passed into the gym. In the locker room stood by the door and studied the roomful of. splashing, dressing boys. His eyes were on Dann.y. The boy had muffed a punt and had lost 204

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DANNY'S DEFENSE one game. Yet in this, th<: hour of his triumph, he took on none of the airs that would mark him as the owner of an inflated head. "I wonder," said Craig, aloud. "Wonder what?" demanded Chapman, who had remained near the coach. "Nothing," was the answer. Chapman smiled. "You're wondering whether he shouldn't be the quarter. Keep thinking. That's what I want you to do." And Craig did "keep thinking." The result of his pondering was that he had a long talk with Chapman the afternoon before the Franklin game. That night, too, the coach went to No. 52 of the dormitory building. "I guess you came here to ask me to play on the 'Varsity to-morrow," Dutton joked. Craig laughed. Dutton laughed, too. "Clear out," the coach ordered. "I want to talk to Danny." "Huh I" said Ralph. "Just as though I didn't know it." He departed without his hat. From the doorway he called advice to his room-mate. 205

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DANNY FISTS "Don't let him scare you, Danny. He wants you to play to-morrow." Craig laughed lightly. "You're a poor guesser; Dutton," he called. Yet, as soon as Ralph's footsteps had died away down the hall, the coach turned to the won deri-ng freshman. "Dutton's right," he said, crisply. "I came here to tell you you'll play part of the game against Franklin." Danny's head whirled. "But-" he began, lamely. "I don't like Baggs' passing either, if that's what you mean," the coach interrupted. "And perhaps you'll be able to hold that ball when it's kicked to you." "I-I don't think I'll muff the ball," Danny answered. He was still somewhat staggered by what the coach had told him. "I've never mis judged a kick; and the way Mr. Baggs showed me there's no chance to miss unless I do misjudge. As to Baggs-" "Well?" Craig broke in. "We don't pull together," said Danny. So 206

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DANNY'S DEFENSE long as Craig knew, there was now no harm in, talking. The coach's eyes flashed directly to the boy. "You mean he throws you off by bad passing?" "Not purposely," Danny hastily. "He doesn't mean to pass them badly; but they don't come evenly and I'm a little bit afraid each time. That forces me to think too much about getting the ball and not enough about the rest of the play. I guess he feels the same way when he snaps it." "How's that?" asked Craig "I mean that he feels I won't get the ball I guess he hasn't much confidence in me. That would delay him in starting his charge. He's a mighty good center. I know it, even if we don't pull. And I think-I think-" "Well," Craig demanded; "what is it you think?" "I think," Danny answered, "that Chapman should go all the way against Franklin and Mon roe. He's had more experience m the game. And Baggs passes better to him." "Is that all?" Craig asked. 207

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DANNY FISTS Danny flushed. "Yes." "Then Chapman will play the first half, and you'll play the second. We need the Franklin game to teach us how to play Monroe. So in you go. And don't worry about Baggs." "I won't," Danny promised, and h e didn't. But he did tingle with the thought that he might get in against Monroe. Hadn't Cr ig said as much? All in all it was a restless Danny who went to bed that night. Yet he dropped to sleep within half an hour, and the sun was up when he awakened. Before going in to breakfast, Danny stepped out into the yard. The day was clear and crisp, with just enough coldness to make one think of an overcoat without putting one on. Breakfast was a meal highly spiced with chatter and prep aration. For Manor Hall was to travel to Frank lin field for this game, and every Manor boy who could possibly make the trip was to go, too. Some of the fellowt', lacking the cash that would have given them places in the barge s that had been hired, had lunches wrapped for them. They 208

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DANNY'S DEFENSE set off, immediately after breakfast, to walk the ten miles to Franklin. "You fellows won't be so merry when you have to w a lk t e n miles home the game/' shouted a semor. One of the plodders looked back and winked. "You chaps with the money will take pity on us and invite us to crowd into the barges," he said, shrewdly. Three or four students scratched their heads and thought out the proposition. "I guess he's right," said one. "It'll be pretty tight packing on the way back, but so long as we win-" "Oh, we'll win," came a chorus of voices. But at that there wasn't any too much confidence at Manor. Franklin's fast back-field had the g r een and white students badly worried. Dinner was served a half-hour earlier than usual. As soon as the meal was over, Craig bun dled his charges into a roomy barge drawn by two horses. Four other barges had come for the students. The crowd had planned to escort the eleven; but Craig, getting wind of this, had 209

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DANNY FISTS changed his order for a one-horse outfit to a two h orse vehicle. And, while the boys were crowd ing into their own wagons, Craig's charges lum bered off. From the othe r barges came cries and pleas: "Wait for us!" "Hold them up, Craig; hold them up." "Hold on there, team; you're running away." Craig grinned. He wanted his boys to have a spell of quiet, and quiet they would get. The student barges, each drawn by only one horse, would not overtake the 'Varsity. Franklin was set in what might have been termed fertile school soil. Six other boarding academies clustered in the country round her. Each of these schools sent a raft of boys to the game. Franklin had made a record as a scoring team, and Manor of late had developed a knack of holding stiffly. It looked like the old problem of the irresistible force meeting the immovable body. The game set for three o'clock, for it was still early enough in the year to finish in daylight, and the hour gave more persons a chance to get 2IO

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DANNY'S DEFENSE to the grounds than had the game been set for two o'clock. When Craig and his Manor Hall boys arrived, they found the stands comfortably filled. The athletes of the green and white dressed without nervousness. At quarter of three Captain Burke, of Franklin, led his team out. They fell to practicing rolling the ball along the ground and dropping on it, going through sig nals, punting and catching. There were thirty boys in this squad, and they made quite an im pression as they did their work. A few minutes later Captain Talmage lead on Manor Hall. The cheer of Manor rolled and rocked through the stands : "Watch them fight! Watch them fight! Watch them fight! Green and white! Green and white! Green and white! Manor, Manor, Manor, Manor, Manor I Hall, Hall, Hall!" "All right, fellows," call ed Talmage. "Limber up." Danny stood back by the goal and caught some punts, figuring the direction of the wind. Chap-2 II ..

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DANNY FISTS man was with him, and they talked over the con ditions. / "You'll get them all right to-day," Chapman .. encouraged. "Little wind t'o bother you. They'll try their running game as much as possible." "I'll get them when they're kicked," said Danny, doggedly. "That's the talk," cried Chapman. Captain Burke had won the toss. Soon the referee's whistle blew. Franklin kicked off, and the ball came all the way to Chapman, who stood between the goal posts. Chapman's catch was deft. Instantly he started toward the right side of the field. The interference formed quickly and well. The quarter almost reacped the thirty-yard line before he was brought down. The teams lined up without loss of time. Chapman's signal sent Talmage back as though for a kick. The formation was a fake, and on the first down Chapman sent Proud, the left half, through a snap opening. The play was good, but at that it gained only four yards. Once more Talmage dropped back as though to kick. This time the ball went to him straight from 212

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DANNY'S DEFENSE Baggs. The captain's punt carried the oval well down into Franklin territory. The ends were down on the Franklin back in good shape. He had no chance to run back the ball. The t e a m s lined up on Franklin's forty-yard line. Danny's fingers twitched. Here's where his defense failed or stood up nobly. He could see that Craig's head was thrust forward, and that the coach's eyes were narrowed. Franklin went right into action with her rapid fire attack. Speedily the Manor eleven knew that it faced a mighty tough proposition. That slash ing split tandem pierced through gua.rds and cen ter, and occasionally shot outside tackle. Here was speed and variety such as Manor had never met before. Franklin's runs were not l-0ng, but they were consistent. They kept Manor on the jump every m oment, and kept her anxious, too. For every now and then a runner would almost get clear, and then, in some miraculous way would be stopped. Danny, sitting with his blanket a b ou t his shoul ders, groaned. "It's a failure," said aloud. 213

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DANNY FISTS But was it? Suddenly he noticed that the guards were doing exactly what they had been told not to do-they were charging. In their eagerness they were forgetting what they had been told. What was worse, the more Franklin the harder the guards tried to break through and to reach the back-field. The result was, as Danny had foreseen, that the guards themselves made the holes for Franklin's attack. "Come on," the boy begged under his breath. "Get set. Get into the game right." Franklin, admirably driven by her quarter, carried the ball from inside their own forty-yard line down to Manor's ten-yard line. With the present ten yards to gain in four downs that means, as most boys know, a remarkable con sistency of attack. "Stop it, Manor," Danny pleaded. Craig' wasn't worried so much about the ad vance as he was over the fact that his boys were working their heads off. They were putting more effort into the defense than Franklin was putting into the offense. The stands had no time to analyze that situa-214

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, Danny, sitting with his blanket about his shoulders, groan ed."

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DANNY'S DEFENSE tion. Manor's students began to yell a shrill entreaty: "Hold them, Manor I Hold them, Manor I Hold them, Manor I" Manor braced. took bigger chances against a forward pass. They brought up their backs and stiffened their line. Three times they held stoutly. Then Burke, the Franklin captain, moved back to try a drop-kick for goal. The cheering died in the stands. The lin center shot the oval. It came to Burke, dropped and rose. The ball missed the post by less than an inch. Manor's students cheered their relief: 1"W atch them fight! Watch them fight! Watch them fight! Green and white! Green and white! Green and white! Manor, Manor, Manor, Manor, Manor! Hall, H a ll, Hall!" Ta1mage had an instant to talk to the team,_ and by his motions Danny knew that the captain was telling them that they. were not playing te>i their coaching. 215

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DANNY FISTS "Give it to them," Danny muttered. "Give it to them, Tal." Manor kicked out. At once Franklin resumed its split-tandem attack, and the attack still pierced the line. But now, however, Baggs got up a lit tle closer in the center; and the guards, too, be gan to play as Danny had suggested and as Craig had coached them. Soon the effect was apparent on Franklin. The plays did not come through so easily. Besides, they caused more effort. Franklin carried the ball just fourteen yards. Then she kicked. Danny slapped his knees. "That's the ticket." Craig glanced back and smiled. Having in a measure stopped Franklin's at tack, Manor now had an opportunity to show how she could carry the ball, now that her team had warmed to its work. The plays were good in the main and occasionally there w e re strong gains; but ChapETian seemed unable to drive with the speed that would have made them wonder fully effective. To Franklin's thirty-yard line Manor took the ball. Then, on an attempt to 216

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DANNY'S DEFENSE gain a scant yard on last down, the leather was lost. All through the first quarter the battle raged evenly. Manor's improved defense stopped Franklin, but Franklin's defense also stopped Manor. The second quarter drifted along, and in the stands boys told each other that it would be a scoreless half. But, with three minutes of the second quarter still to play, Franklin did the unexpected. She had reached Manor's thirty-five-yard line, and there she tried a forward pass. The Franklin quarter, starting with the ball as though he intended to pass to the right half back, ran straight on past the half. Five yards back he turned suddenly Talmage awoke to the danger. -'Get that pass!" he cried He was too late. Out to where the Franklin right end stood sailed the ball. The end, gather ing it in, tucked it under one arm and raced for the goal line. There was nobody near enough to stop him, and he crossed in a babel of Frank lin yells. It was the first touchdown of the game. 217

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I DANNY FISTS Franklin's chee r roared, and roared, and roared. Manor's followers sat stunned. Then the ball was brought out, and Burke, Franklin's captain, kicked an easy goal. When the half ended the lads of the green and white jogged off to their There Craig spoke to them. He made no com plaint about that touchdown. As h"e saw it, it had been a lucky break. If his boys would only drive things, he felt sure that they would come through with the winning score. And so he talked to them seriously about their lack of drive in their attack. He told them that they had settled down nicely, and that they were spiking the split tandem. But their own offensive plays, he said, were not f.ast enough, nor were they selected with judgment. "I'm going to play Phipps," he said. Baggs looked up. Chapman grinned and winked at Danny. The coach turned to the redhaired quarter. "I want you to drive th.is team," he said. "I want you to drive it fast. I want you to see what you can do with it. And I want every man to get 218

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DANNY'S DEFENSE into every play. That's all. Time's up. Out you go." They went forth with renewed courage-went forth to fight an uphill battle and to regain lost ground. This was Danny's chance, and Danny knew it. If ever he was to make good, here was the time and the place. The coach had said that this game was an attempt to learn how to play Monroe. If he was to get into that big game, here was the place where he must show his worth. "Snap me one or two," he called to Baggs as they ran out onto the field. Baggs stooped and snapped back the ball. He performed the operation in a bored way as though to say, "What sort of quarter have we with us now?" Danny felt the old atmosphere of an tagonism. For a moment it placed a damper on his spirits. But the few passes that Baggs made were even and steady. "What's the odds?" Danny asked himself. "As long as he sends them back right I don't care what he thinks of me." Danny, too, had an idea that Mr. Baggs had 219

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DANNY FISTS been t alking to his son, and that as the result of this talk the center unconsciously put more heart into his work when playing with one Phipps. Danny couldn't carry this line of thought far, however, because in another moment the second half was on. Soon he realized that Baggs' passing was better than any he had yet had from that boy. The result was what Craig had planned The plays went off with speed, and snap, and fierceness. The ball took a steady journey toward the Franklin goal. "Good boy, Danny," cried Talmage. "Keep it up." And two minutes later Danny sent his captain through right tackle for a touchdown. Talmage also kicked goal. The score was tied. In the stands hilarious Manor fellows told one another that Danny was as fast as Harper. Harper had gone down into history as Manor's best quarter. It was praise indeed to have the school compare one to that former football wonder Danny, on the field, heard none of this praise. To him, the big thing was that the score was tied. 220

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DANNY'S DEFENSE The bigger thing was that it was time to get after a victory. But the final period began with the score still tied. And now Danny went at his work with a furious zeal. The eleven reached Franklin's thirty-yard line. Franklin was going fast. The Manor students cheered happily: "Watch them fight! Watch them fight! Watch them fight! Green and white! Green and white! Green and whi te! Manor, Manor, J\!Ianor, Manor, Manor! Hall, Hall, Hall!" And then, on third down, Baggs passed poorly, and Danny, thrown out of his stride, passed poor ly to Lee. The fleet right half fumbled. Talmage recovered the ball, but Manor found itself with eleven yards to go to make first down. Danny gave the signal for a drop-kick. Talmage moved back. "Block hard, fellows," the quarter pleaded. "Block hard." He took a stand a few yards be hind the line ready to take care of any boy who might come through. He choked down whatever 22I (

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DANNY FISTS bitterness was in his heart. Once more Baggs' passing had thrown him off. But this time Baggs was worrie d too for he knew that his pass ha d been poorly timed. He saw Talmage waiting with outstretched arms. He snapped the ball. A sudden cry broke from the stands. The pass was four feet over the captain's he ad. right tackle and right end h a d made heroic efforts to come through. The tackle had been blocked, but the end-the same end who had scored on the forward pass-had got away. He raced after the ball, and was past Talmage before the captain could turn. Danny, too, had seen the weirdness of that pass. Before it had even gone over Talmage's head, he had started on a run back toward his own goal, for his common sense told him that a ny Franklin boy who might go through would certainly get the ball. Suddenly Danny saw the Franklin fo r ward two scant yards ahead of him. The boy groaned. Why hadn't the line blocked hard? A nd then the Franklin end scooped the ball, and with the 222

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DANNY'S DEFENSE Franklin cheers sounding in his ears, started for Manor's goal. How ever, he had lost a little ground in getting the ball, and his lead had decreased to five feet. Danny, using every ounce of his strength, raced after that menacing figure in front. Instinct told him that Talmage was out of the run-that he, Phipps, would bring down that Franklin boy or nobody would. He set his lips and tried to in crease his speed. The Franklin end was fast, but he had to carry the ball. Danny had nothing to impede his progress and the lust of battle was in his heart. By the time midfield was crossed Danny had shortened the distance perceptibly. He was not yet near enough for that desperate leap that would come the moment he felt sure he could clutch the runner. He knew that he must not shoot his bolt too soon, for he was the only Mano r boy near enough to prevent a touchcfown. And so the y crossed the thirty-five-ya r d line. A moment later Danny felt t hat he could g e t his man. The stands saw him reach out and almost leap on to the back of the Franklin end. 223

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DANNY FISTS After a staggering yard or two they crashed to the ground. The Franklin end came down with a snap that knocked the ball out of his arms. Danny could Talmage's flying feet. "Get it, Tal," he yelled. The next instant the cap tain's body came over the ground, low and hard, and pocketed the oval. It was Manor's ball again, but on her own twenty-five-yard line instead of in front of Franklin's goal. From the stands came crazy, confused cheer mg. Danny heard his name. Both teams straggled down to for171 new lin e s of scrimmage. Baggs touched Danny's arms. "Thanks for catching that chap," he muttered. "That touchdown would have been against me." He didn't say the words with any degree of cheerfulness, nor with even as much gratitude as the words would indicate. But, at any rate, it was a change of heart. Danny called briskly to the team. "Right after them, fellows. Back to that thirty-yard line. Signal!" The ball came from Baggs with a sharp, clean snap. It was the right kind of passing, now. 224

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DANNY'S DEFENSE "He has more confidence in me," Danny ex ulted. "Now we'll show them." Lee had made five yards. "Good work," he called. "Hustle, fellows, hustle. Signal! Signal I" And the dash and go of the quarter crept into the team, and despite that crippling upset, Manor steadily worked its way toward Franklin's goal. Two minutes before play ended, the forwards snapped a hole for Lee, and that fleet young man went through and across the line. It was Manor's game. Franklin's split tandem, for the first time that season, had met its master. Back to the locker room came Danny, back to praise from Talmage, and Chapman, and Craig. During all the congratulations that he received, however, the quarter's thoughts were all on Baggs. Not once, after that riot of a chase to save a touchdown, had Baggs' passing been fluky. That meant that Baggs felt a bit differently toward him, and it also meant that there might be something now that would pull them together. Danny felt sure that he would be able to do even better if he and Baggs worked in warm, close harmony. 225

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DANNY FISTS Sunday night Dutton came to him with news that made his heart beat faster. "One of Baggs' crowd," Ralph beg an, "made a remark about you a little while ago." Danny held his breath. "What was it?" "He said he thought you were about as good as Chapman." Ralph came over to Danny's chair. "And when one of Baggs' crowd says that," he finished earnestly, "make up your mind that Baggs thinks so, too." Danny tried to appear unconcerned, but his heart was beating with joyous haste. If he and Baggs got together-"! wonder," he said, aloud, "if I'll get a chance in the Monroe game?" "After what you did yesterday?" Ralph de manded. "Of course you will." Danny grinned, and then the grin faded. "Oh, I'm only a freshman," he protested. "You don't catch many freshmen playing against Monroe." Somebody came up the stairs on a wild run. The door of their room was flung open. In uponi them charged Cross, the captain of the freshman team. 226

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DANNf'S DEFENSE "Have you fellows heard the news? You, Danny?" "No," said the boy from Westport. "It-it's all over the yard. You'll hear the class yelling in a moment. Gee, but it's great of Chapman." Danny sprang to his feet. "What did Chapman do?" "Do?" Cross waved excited arms. "He went to Craig and said that you were the fellow who should start the Monroe game. You'll hear the class in a There! Didn't I tell you?" Even Danny, stunned though he was, heard the /roar that broke loose beneath the dormitory win dows: "Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, rah, Phipps! Phipps! Phipps!" /

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CHAPTER XII JOY AND GLOOM THE cheers that shattered the calm of a Sunday night sounded fine to the un thinking freshmen. But a lot of the glamour went out of things Monday morning. For Dr. Wilmer, facing the school at chapel, told the boys gravely that it had long been a rule at Manor Hall that there should be no unnecessary noise on Sundays. The Doctor said he was sorry to inflict punishment, but that his duty compelled him to cut the liberty of the entire freshman class. Now, to cut liberty meant that the stud e nts concerned were prohibited from lea v ing th e school grounds. The freshmen shift e d uneasily in their seats. If their liberty was cut for a wee k, they would be unable to roa m a b out w i t h the horde of visitors who would c o me do w n for the Manor-Monroe game next Saturday True, they could witness the game, for the athletic fie ld was 228

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JOY AND GLOOM school property, but they would be unable to romp through the gayety that always came the day before the big game. "Up to and including Thursday of this week," the Doctor finished. And then there was a sigh of relief that could be heard all through chapel. Dr. Wilmer's mouth twitched. Later, Danny saw Chapman in the yard. He had a warm respect for the other boy, for despite the fact that they were rivals for a 'Varsity place, Chapman always treated him with astonishing kindness. There was a wide, clean streak of fairness in Chapman. He had a habit of thinking that the other fellow was better than he, and he always did what he could to help the other fellow. He was modest, too, and retiring, and that was something that had hurt his work as quarter. It stopped him from driving the teamfrom urging, commanding, demanding His na ture seemed to pull him back at the times when he should have been pushing the team to its hardest. This was the boy who had said that Danny must play the Monroe game. 229

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DANNY FISTS They met near the dormitory st.eps. Chap man stole a quick look at Danny's face. "Here," he cried, suddenly, "don't you begin to tell me I shouldn't have done it." "You shouldn't," said Danny. "Of course, I thought it would be fine if I could get a little slice of the game. I'd like to get my letter, and I understand that you have to play against Mon roe to get your M." Chapman nodded. "Right. You'll get it, too." "But I don't want to start the game," cried Danny. "I'll get nervous and I'll go to pieces. I know I will." Chapman looked worried. "Here; that won't do, Danny. You have football brains. You must make them count. And don't let Craig hear you say any thing about going to pieces." ?" Danny asked, anxiously. "Because, if you do, you won't have a China man's chance of getting into even one minute of the game, I've told Craig what I think. That's settled. Now, you sit back and wait for things to happen. If Craig starts you, jump iri and rip things apart. If he starts me, why, keep yourself 230

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JOY AND GLOOM ready, for you'll get a crack at them sometime the finish." By th_is time little knots of fellows had gathered at a distance, and were watchjng the 'Varsity quarters. It wasn't so long ago that these same fellows had been blaming panny for the loss of the Mt. Merry game. "I guess," said Danny, "those fellows think you're crazy for going to Craig." "Guess again," Chapman laughed. "It's all over school that you were the chap who dug up the defense that ditched Franklin's split tandem. Danny, you're a hero." "Huh!" said "I never heard of a hero yet who didn'.t have folks chucking rotten apples at him later in the game." So he took his new honors modestly. Fellows who tried to fawn over him met with an indiff er ence that robbed them of their flattery. Craig, watching the whole smiled dryly. "If they find a foolish streak in that kid," he muttered, "they're welcome to it." That afternoon practice was resumed on the field. At once Danny awoke to the fact that a 231

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DANNY FISTS subtle change had taken place. There was no more of the rush and tear, free and loose, of ordinary practice. Instead, Craig came out to the field and stayed there. Plays that had failed against Franklin were run off slowly, then with increasing speed. Linesmen and backs were slowed up or Passes were timed and studied. The whole attempt was to have every boy get into every play at the exact instant when his Jorce would do the most good. There were no new plays to learn. Nothing was left but to perfect what they had. And so came the final patient lessons in the hardest prob lem of the game-team work. When Danny's turn came to work in the line up, he glanced anxiously at Baggs. A moment later his fears died. The passing of the center was as steady as it had ever been for Chapman Danny could have shouted for joy. His voice became a living, challenging sound that demanded work and got it. But the work was not always smooth, and ten times in a row he call e d the same signal, and passed the ball the same way for the 232

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JOY AND GLOOM same play. On the eleventh attempt his voice was sharp and irritable. After the play Baggs gave the shadow of a grin. "This is the place where tempers bang," he said. "Over and over again until you feel that you could kill your grandmother." It was the first time that Baggs had ever given Danny a friendly word in practice. After that Craig could have called for the same play all afternoon and Danny's temper would have re mained as sweet as new milk. He and Baggs were getting together-and that was everything. Though Chapman had gone to Craig, and though Chapman had said that he would surely get something to do against Monroe, Danny was not sure. For one thing, Craig had said nothing to him, and it was Craig's word that was law. After the practice he saw Talmage and Craig talking earnestly and glancing now and then in his direction. "Here's where I hear something," he reasoned nervously. But neither captain nor coach said anything in the locker room, and Danny went 233

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DANNY FISTS back to his room still in the dark with respect to what was to happen next Saturday. In the dining hall Cross, the freshman captain, called across the tables: "Hey, Dariny I Got a plan to upset Draper's punting?" Danny grinned. "He's their quarter, isn't he? Some kicker, too, eh?" "Right-a!" called Cross. then another little some. "Some kicker-and They say he sends down a punt that's the hardest kind of a proposi tion to handle. I u nderstand it floats, and spirals, and does everything else all at once. Better find some way to stop that. 11 Danny grinned again, and seemed quite pleased with this thought. But in reality his heart was heavy, and he suddenly lost interest in his sup per. He knew that, despite his present popu larity, the memory of his slump in catching punts \ still lingered in the school mind. If Draper kicketl a ball that was difficult to handle, would Craig send him into this, the season's biggest game, and take a chance? "Nix," said Danny mournfully. He stared 234

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JOY A N D G LOOM at his dish of ric e For the first time in his life rice p u dding didn't a p p e al to him. Ralph Dutton cro w d e d a g ainst Cross while the boys w e re on their way out. "You fog-h ead!" he hissed. "What are you trying to do? Worry him sick?" "What did I do?" demande d Cross. "Worry who?" "Danny, you chump. What did you want to say anything about Drape r being hard to catch?" "Oh W said Cross sorrowful,ly. "I didn't think of that, Dut. Think he'll get the glooms?" "If he does, I'll try my best to chase them," was the answer. Ralph walked away, and Cross stood there scratching his head and sighing re gretfully. When Dutton came back to No. 5 2 Danny was plainly upset. Ralph banged books, and whistled cheerfully, and had a high, old noisy time for a few minutes. "Well," he asked presently, "itlooked to me as though you and Baggs worked together pretty well to-day." Danny nodded. 235

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I DANNY FISTS "Good I That makes it a sure thing." "What?" asked Danny weakly. "That you'll get in against Monroe. I told you everything would straighten out." Danny wet his lips. "Did-did you hear what Cross said about Draper?" "Cross I" Ralph sniffed. "About Draper being hard to catch? Do you know what I heard Don Baggs' father say about catching punts?" Danny's interest quickened. "What?" "He said-he said--" Ralph was not used to fibbing, and the effort came hard. "He said that-that if a fellow had form-you know what I mean, form-he'd be able to catch any punt tpat was ever punted. Now what do you know about that?" "Did he really say that?" asked Danny, suspi ciously. "He did," answered Dutton royally. "He told me one day while he was coaching you. I met him in the afternoon. He coached you on form, didn't he?" "Yes." Ralph went back to his books. After a while 236

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JOY AND GLOOM he heard a sound and looked around. Danny was whistling softly. Ralph grinned. Next day there was more of that careful, painstaking practice. Danny wondered whether Craig would say anything to him. When he went in he was conscious that the coach was watching him. Baggs' passing continued good. He ran the team ably and with a smooth variety of play. Toward the close a freakish wind sprang up. Instantly Craig halted the work. He and Talmage moved off. Chapman edged toward Danny. "Watch yourself," he whispered. "Don't get rattled." Craig approached. "Down the field, Danny. I want Talmage to kick to you." And suddenly Danny understood. So this Draper was a hard punter to handle. Craig was sending him out in this topsy-turvy, up-hill-and down-dale gale to see how he stood the ordeal. The boy's wiry body stiffened. Then Talmage kicked. The came crazily. Danny moved gently toward where it promised to fall. And slowly, carefully, he pocketed it as Mr. Baggs had showed him the trick. 237

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I DANNY FISTS P Five more times Talmage kicked, low and high short and far. Danny caught them all. Then Craig waved him in. The others were ordered to the gym Chapman passed with a wave of his hand. Danny, Craig and Talmage had the field to themselves "I suppose," said the coach abruptly, "you have heard that Chapman wants me to play you for the full Monroe game?" "I heard it, said Danny "What do you think of the plan?" "I don't like it." Danny's voice wa s frank. "I'm a freshm an, and this is my first big game. If I were to start the trouble, I might go in all upset and nervous But if I can watch things, I'll get interested in solving Monroe's defense, and then, if I should go in later--" "You'll go in," said Craig decidedly. "We'll play them like we played Franklin. Chapman starts. You may go in at the half; maybe not until the third quarter. But in you'll go some time. Then drive them." "I'll drive them," Danny promised grimly. "Baggs and I are pulling--" 238

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JOY AND GLOOM "That's one reason why you're sure to go in," said Craig. Had Danny been there alone, he would have gon e whooping across the field. As he was, he t ried hard not to show his joy. He was sure of going in against Monroe. He was sure of his letter. And all in his freshman year, too I "I heard Cross say something to you about Draper's punting, last night," said Talmage. Danny came back to earth with a bounce. His face reddened. "Are you afraid of Draper?" demanded Craig. "No," said Danny. "I was worried at first. I know why you chased me out after kicks to day. I held them; and Draper can't do anything worse to that ball than the wind did a little while ago. Mr. Baggs says if a fellow has he can get them all. He taught me form. I'll get them." Craig nodded. "And when Draper kicks, how many yards do you thi n k you'll run back the punt?" Danny's eyes went to the ground. There was a long minute of silence. 239

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\ JOY AND GLOOM left together. Dusk had settled over the yard, and lights winked in the windows of the dormitory building. As they came to the dormitory steps Ralph Dutton hurried forward to meet them "That you, Danny? Here's a lett er I found it when I got in. As soon as I saw it, it smelled like trouble." In the lighted hall Danny ripped open the envelope. The letter was from his mother He read it through slowly: MY DEAR DANNY: I heard to-day that you play on a football team at Manor Hall, and the news has distressed me. I under stand that the game is brutal, and that broken bones are common. I stopped a week ago to watch a contest in the Westbrook publicr park, and I wondered that th.e police did not interfere and put a stop to the outrage. I saw boys run at each other and throw each other violentl y on the ground, and I am not sure that they did not bite each other. Such games are d egr ading, and it is my wish that you cease this so called sport at once. YouR LOVING MOTHER. Danny folded the letter. "It is trouble," he said sadly.

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DANNY FISTS "Well?" asked Craig. "When Draper punts," said Danny, slowly, "I'm ?oing to give my whole thought to getting the ball. If Draper's all they say he is, that's the wisest course. I won't start running until I get the ball. I'd sooner miss two or three yards that I might run back than miss the ball and have a Monroe end fall on it." Craig smiled softly. "That's all, Danny. I guess Draper won't get away with much on you." The boy streaked off to the gym. In the locker room he found Chapman. "How about it?" asked the quarter. "You start the game," Danny babbled happily. "I go in later. Isn't that fine? Both of us get a crack at them." Chapman smiled. "I thought that's what they'd do-if you caught Talmage's kicks." Danny grinned. "Did I look calm and-and all that, out there?" Chapman nodded. "Weren't you?" "I was scared stiff," Danny confessed. "But I got them. That's the point-I got them." Chapman waited for him to dress, and they 240

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DANNY FISTS Chapman stared. "What kind of trouble?" "My mother objects to football." Chapman turned quickly on his feet, ran off a few steps, and suddenly came back. "You fellows go in and eat," he ordered. "Ask them to save something for me. I'm off for a talk with Craig."

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/ CHAPTER XIII THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP D ANNY ate his supper in a hopeless sort of way. Before the meal was half over Chapman hurried in. He sat near Talmage, and soon he and the captain were in earnest conversation. On their way out they edged their course so that they intercepted Danny near the door. 'Craig's rooms," said Chapman. "Right over. 'Come with us." The three boys made haste to the coach's quar ters. Craig showed signs of worry. "Now, Danny," he began crisply, "let's see that letter." Danny handed it over. Craig read it througli, and as he he shook his head from time to time. Finally he folded it, stuck it back ig its envelope, and returned it to the boy. 243

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DANNY FISTS "Any use arguing with your mother, Danny?" he asked. "Not if mother thinks football is rough and brutal," the boy answered hopelessly. "You see, I was sent to Manor because I was getting into a lot of scr aps at home. Dad that if I learned to control my temper here he wouldn't worry about anything else." Craig's eyes snapped. "You did have a temper when you came here, Danny, didn't you?" "Y-yes." "Where is it now?'? Danny shook his head. "I don't know. Some thing has happened. I don't fly off like I used to." "And your father said that if Manor taught you to control--You're sure he said that, Danny?" "Yes. He told me that the last talk we had before I left home." Craig's fingers nervously tapped the back of a chair. "Your father didn't send you here because of fights, did he?" "No. He didn't mind fighting so long as there 244

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THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP was no bullying, or grudges, or things like that. But he didn't want me piling into scraps just be cause I flared up.11 Slowly the lines of worry left the coach's face. Gradually, too, he began to smile. "I have a feeling, Danny, 11 he said "that we're going to save you.11 He turned to Talmage. "I want you to write a letter to Mrs. Phipps. Mail it to-night. It will be delivered to-morrow, and you and Chapman can go to Westbrook and in terview Danny's parents to-morrow evening. Here, Tal; sit down here. Write it now.11 The dropped into a seat. The coach handed him paper and a fountain pen. Talmage made aimless marks with the pen. "What should I say ?11 he demanded. Craig waved his hands. "That's up to you. You're the captain Talmage groaned. Presently he wrote a word or two, and soon the pen began to move briskly. After a while he looked up and grinned at the others. "Think I'll do this as a business, 11 he said. "I certainly can sling ink when I get going 245

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DANNY FISTS "Finished?" Craig asked. "Huh!" Talmage grunted. "This isn't short hand. I'm through the introduction." "Read it," said the coach. The captain cleared his throat with a show of importance. He read in a voice that was a bit self-conscious: DEAR MRS. PHIPPS: Danny has just told me that you object to his playing foot ball. We are plunged into despair at such news. He's a corking good quarterback, and no one can compare with him in running the team. I don't dare face the school with any such news. Talmage dropped the sheet and glanced at Craig. "How's that?" "Keep going," said Craig. "Hold on!" cried Danny. "That isn't fair to Chapman about running the te--" Chapman clapped a hand over his mouth. "Go on, Tal" he laughed; "you're doing nobly." So the captain turned author againt and pres ently read another part of the letter: 246

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THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP Honestly, I don't see how Danny could stand it to be on the side lines. He'd go mad, for there never was a fellow who had so much the ideal spirit for a football player. If his stand in classes was bad it might be different, but Danny's a good stu dent, and every professor in the list will be disappointed if he doesn't play. Football isn't brutal. Dr. Wilmer encour ages the sport, and comes to see all our games. He wouldn't do that if the game wasn't all right. And biting is prohibited under the rules. I know from my own experience that football has done me a lot of good, and it will do Danny good as sure as I am writing this letter. "Was it necessary to mention biting?" asked Craig dryly. "Well," said Talmage, "Mrs. Phipps said something about biting in her letter." "Oh I Go on I" The captain's pen scratched agam. Soon he handed it back to Craig. He read the letter's close: Please do not spoil our team. And please do not spoil Danny's future. I am sure that he will be captain 6f the eleven before 247

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DANNY FISTS he leaves Manor Hall. Please be good to us and to him. If y ou have no objections, Chapman, our other quarter, and I are coming to Westbrook to-morro w night. We will reach the hou s e soon a fter eight. We think we can conv ince you that Danny should play. You must consent. / Yours hopefully, WALTER TALMAGE. "Mail it," said Craig. He glanced at Danny. "Think that will win, son?" Danny frowned doubtfully. "I-I don't know." "Well," remarked the coach easily, "I have another shot left, anyway. Keep this to your selves, boys. Who else knows about that letter?" "Dutton," Chapman answered. "Will he talk?" .'He will not," said positively. Talmage dropped the letter in a post-box near the yard. "Good luck to you," he said. They separated to their rooms. Next day the 'Varsity, keeping the ball, went in against the senior team. For half an hour 248

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THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP Craig watched his players plow their way up and down the field. Danny had ten minutes of the period, and Baggs worked well with him. The end of the practice found Craig well pleased. The attack was smoother, stronger, more pow erful. After supper Talmage and Chapman disaP,peared. Danny hunted up the coach. "Can I sit up and wait for them?" he asked. "Nonsense!" cried Craig. "They are to back on the nine-twenty from Westbrook. a mail train, and it reaches here at eleven o'clock. I'll meet them at the station at this end. You can come over here first thing in the morning." And at seven o'clock next morning was pounding at Craig's door. The coach let him in. "You play," he said. "And get out of here and let me dress." Danny hastened off and told Dutton the good news. Later in the morning he met Chapman. "It was funny," said the quarter. "Your mother was dead opposed to football. We couldn't argue it at all. Then Talmage gave your father Craig's note--" 249

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DANNY FISTS "Craig's note?" Danny demanded. "Yes. Craig gave us a note for your father before we left. Your father read it, and then your mother read it. They looked at each other for so long that I thought we'd miss our train back. 'Don't you think that's a good game for Danny?' your father said. 'Yes,' said your mother, as though she didn't want to say yes, and just had to. Then we came away." "What was in the note?" Chapman shook his head. "I don't know. It was sealed." At noon Danny found Craig in the yard. "What was in your note?" he asked. The coach smiled. "I told your father that you have reached here with a pretty hot temper, but that the discipline of the football field had about pulled its teeth." "I can just imagine," Danny said slowly, "how my father felt when he read that." It seemed to that his cup of happiness was full. And yet, that afternoon, with the Mon roe game only two days off, all his high hopes went to smash. For Baggs' passing to him was 250

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THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP raw, and plays had been going strongly under Chapman suddenly wilted and drooped. Danny could not understand the change. For almost a week he and the center had worked together in smooth harmony. They had not quar reled. There had been no clash. And yet Baggs' passing was just as bad as it had been in the Mt. Merry game. For three rattling, jarring minutes Danny ran the team. Then Craig sent him to the side lines. "Take things easy," the coach ordered. "I can't take a chance on having you too finely drawn. Come on, Chappie." Somehow, though, Danny suspected that he had been taken out because the coach had seen that something was wrong. Once Craig had spoken to him about Baggs' passing. That meant that the man was aware that at times Bag&s wavered. Then why hadn't Orth been substituted for Baggs? Why had Chapman been \ called back? It did not dawn on Danny that perhaps he had been taken out to save his nerves-that perhaps Craig had seen that he was upset and had sent 251

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DANNY FISTS him off before the upset went too fa'r. All he realized clearly was that his football fortunes were at sixes and sevens again, and without any apparent reason at that. He said nothing to Dutton that night. In the morning, after breakfast, he came out .of the dining hall with Reggie Baggs' room mate. Clarke, in his high-pitched, biting voice, spoke to Danny a moment or two, and straight way Danny went to his room. He felt that he didn't care whether he attended classes that day or not. For Clarke had told him that Baggs had said that he didn't want one Danny Phipps in the game. When Dutton came back to the room for his books he found Danny sitting miserably by the window. "Hello!" he called in surprise. "What's gone wrong?" "Baggs has made the crack that he doesn't want me in the Monroe game." "Oh, rats!" Dutton cried. "That's carrying things a little too far., You can't get your letter unless you play."

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THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP "I know that." "And Baggs says--Oh, come, Danny, I don't believe it. If you trace this thing down you'll find it's a fake. Baggs didn't like you when you won the scr ap, but everybody said you had made a friend of him when you saved that touch down in the Franklin game." "His passing was fine after that game," Danny admitted. "But yesterday everything went wrong again. And then to-day I was told--" "Who told you?" demanded Dutton. Danny hesitated. "Clarke," he said at last. "Oh I Then it is fake. That chap's always trying to stir up trouble. You take my advice and go and ha v e a talk with Baggs. I'll bet he didn't say he didn't want you in the game. You go ask him." "I will," said Danny suddenly. "We might as well spill the beans now as spill them in the Mon roe game." / "Here!" cried Ralph in alarm. "Don't get into a scrap right before--" "I won't," said Danny grimly. "But if what 253

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DANNY FISTS Clarke says is true I know a Manor Hall fellow who's in for a licking right after the game." There was no time to do any investigating dur ing dinner hour. But, as soon as classes were dismissed at three o'clock Danny went directly to Baggs' room. He knocked on the door with trembling knuckles. "Come in," a voice called. Danny entered. Baggs frowned. "Well?" the center demanded. "Did you," Danny asked slowly, "did you make the statement that you didn't want me in the Monroe game?" "I didn't," said Baggs. Danny felt a sudden relief. "I didn't," the center continued, "but I hope Craig keeps you out." Danny's eyes took fire. "You mean," he cried bitterly, "that you'll give me the same dirty pass ing you gave me against Mer--" "Easy there," growled Baggs wrathfully. "You licked me once, but you'll have a chance to try it again if you keep that up. That's the second dirty crack ,.You've made about me." "The second?" Danny's anger gave place to 254

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THE THRESHOLD OF FR.IENDSHIP astonishment. "What did I ever say about you?" "Don't play innocent," sneered the center. "You made the crack that if you hadn't saved me .in the Franklin game Craig would be playing Orth against Monroe. gave you any license to say that Craig would take me out of the lineup?" "Who told you I said that?" Danny demanded. "Clarke did. He said you told him that--" And then Clarke strolled into the room. His eyes shifted from the center to the quarter. He retreated toward the door. "If you fellows," he began nervously, "want tu talk things over--" "We do," Danny answered sharply. "Stay here." "No. I'll be back in a moment." He sprang backward, but he wasn't quick en o ugh. Danny's fingers closed on the ends of his coat. For a moment there was a wild struggle in the doorway. "Hey, Baggs," yelled Clarke, "don't let him rough-house me this way." But the center made no move to help his room-25 5

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I DANNY FISTS mate. Danny dragged the struggling boy baclC in the room. He shot out one foot and kicked shut the door. Then his fingers g'ot in between Clarke's collar and Clarke's soft throat, and he shook that unhappy boy's head with savage, ragmg vim. "Did I tell you that I had saved Baggs in the Franklin game?" he howled. "N-n-n-o," chattered Clarke. "Then why did you tell him I did? Did I say Orth would be played against Monroe?" This time Clarke's "No" was almost a wail. His feet were against the sub-base. Suddenly Danny began to bang his head against the wall. ''If I did the right thing," the quarter cried hotly, "I'd take you out in the yard and make you admit what you've done. Trying to stir up trouble in the team right before the big game I There isn't a decent streak in your whole body. You're dirt. And if you ever make another bit of talk like this I'll tell the fellows just what you are." Danny released his hold, and Clarke staggered 256

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THE THRESHOLD OF FRIENDSHIP along the wall and leaned in the corner. There he faced toward Baggs. "You're a fine pal," he whimpered. "Why didn't you make him stop?" Baggs turned his back on his room-mate. Danny, trembling with excitement, faced the center. "I'll go in to-morrow," he said. "Craig told me so. I can't run the team unless you stand by me. The passes must come to me in good shape, or I can't get the ball to the backs. That's :what threw me off against Mt. Merry." "I suppose," Baggs asked, "you think my passing in that game was intentional?" "No," said Danny slowly. "You wouldn't be '.A. R. Baggs' son if it was." The center was silent, and his eyes slowly trav eled to the floor. "I'm not playing for you to-morrow," Danny went on, "and you're not playing for me. We're playing for Manor Hall. That's everything. I know you don't like me. But try to forget that I'm behind you. Just give your best for Manor." Again Baggs was silent. Danny sighed and started to leave. 257 ..

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DANNY FISTS "Wait," said the center. "You're wrong. You say I don't like you. Times like these there are lots of things about you I like. I didn't at first, but I guess I had you sized up wrong. You could have said a lot of nasty things after that Franklin game, but I guess you didn't. Anyway, my loy alty to Manor is as clean as yours. When you go in, run the team for all you're worth. You'll find me right there fighting with you." Danny came back and held out his hand. "Let's be friends, Baggs." "I-I guess that will have to come later," said Baggs slowly.

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CHAPTER XIV THE MONROE GAME THERE was little that went on at Manor Hall that Craig did not know, guess or suspect. Before the slight practice that day was many minutes old, the coach drew Danny aside. "Anything happen between you and Baggs?" he asked sharply. Danny nodded. "What?,, "I went to his room after classes. We had a talk." Craig's eyes flashed angrily. "You mean that there was a fight?" "No," said Danny. "We had no row. Baggs told me to do my best if I went in, and that he'd be with me every minute." The anger fled from the man's face. He had 259

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DANNY FISTS a strange feeling that he'd like to cheer. He held back his enthusiasm. "Good!" he said calmly. "That means, Danny, that when you go in to-morrow I want action." get it," the boy promised stoutly. Now that Ba g gs was to really work with him, his con fidence in his ability was supreme. Fellows who watched the light work that after noon decided that Baggs and Danny were becom ing pretty chummy. They decided, too, that it was an excellent thing for the and that it ought to help Manor's chances. Ralph Dutton grinned merrily, but made no comments. After practice he met his room-mate near the athletic field. "What happened?" he asked. Danny told him. Dutton whistled softly. "I told you Clarke was a no-g oo d cha p. You gave it to him ri ght and pro per, eh? Good I A nd B agg s w o uldn't int e rfere? Say, Danny, somethin g 's g e ttin g rea d y to drop." And next m o rning t h e n ews w e nt through the schootthat Baggs and Cla r ke had separated, and 260

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THE MONROE GAME now occupied different rooms. Craig thought this out for a while, and finally grinned. "Wise little Danny," he muttered. The Monroe found a cool, nipping day awaiting its pleasure. There were moments of cloudiness that hinted at rain; there were mo ments of bright, open sky that promised sunshine. But, as the morning wore on, the clouds disappeared bit by bit, and the sunshine came more and more into its own. By noontime, when trains and automobiles and trolley cars were bringing in the crowds, the day was all that even Mike O'Toole, the head ground-keeper, could ask, for Mike had rheumatism and had no love for dampness. The Manor squad ate a light dinner. The fellows were at high tension, but Craig could see no signs of abnormal nervousness. He laughed and joked with them, and tried to keep their minds off the game. Finally he led them to the gym-out through a boisterous yard and across a noisy, cheering, howling athletic field. Then they were in the locker room. They dressed with more quiet than usual. Soon Craig lined them up and told them what he wanted. He spoke 261

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DANNY FISTS quietly and with calmness, and the boys drank in t h e lecture with stern attention. After that they went out to a shrieking welcome from the stands. Danny was with Chapman. "Where's Draper?" he asked. Chapman shook his head. Talmage answered. "That chap over there. See him? There he kicks." Danny watched the ball. His eyes told him that those kicks would be hard to handle. Yet he was sure that he would get the ball when it came to him. There was a flurry of sharp practice. Then Captain Talmage, of Manor, and Captain Parent, of Monroe, stood with the referee in the center of the field. The referee tossed a coin. "Tails," called Talmage. All three stooped over. "Heads," said the referee. Parent walked back to his players. He and Draper talked a moment and studied the wind. The y d e cided to receive the kick-off and to take the north goal. The teams spread out in battle form. Talmage 2 6 2

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I, THE MONROE GAME kicked. The ball went down to Monroe's fiveyard line. There Monroe's right half caught the oval. Instantly he was away. It looked for a moment as though he had a clear field ahead. "Come on," yelled the Monroe stands. "Come on." Twelve yards away, however, Manor's end and tackle brought him down. The teams lined up. On the first down Monroe punted. Draper got the ball away cleanly, but Danny, watching closely, felt that the kick should have been longer Chapman was under the ball. It came into arms and squirmed out and away. "Oh!" Danny gasped. Chapman threw him self at the oval; he covered it before the Monroe ends could reach the danger zone. "Whew!" breathed Danny. "That's too close for comfort. He must kick an awful ball if Chapman can't hold it." Manor began its attack. Chapman sent the fast Lee on a straight plunge through right tackle for two yards. Instantly he sent his left half around from the other side and at the same spot. Six yards more resulted. 263

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DANNY FISTS "Go it, Manor l Go it, Manor I Go it, Manor!" chanted the stands of green and white. But Chapman had no idea of attempting to carry the ball from his own territory all the way down. Just at present he was simply feeling Monroe out. He called on Talmage to punt. The effort was a little hurried, and as a result Monroe had the ball on her thirty-yard line. Monroe tried an end play. It failed. Then Draper punted. Plainly Monroe relied much on Draper's valuable foot. The ball came to Chapman on Manor's fortyyards. This time, while Danny held his breath, Chapman made a good, clean catch. But the Monroe ends were on him, and he could not run back the kick. At this point came the first time out. Gowdy, Manor's right tackle, tried to bump off a Monroe tackle, and was somewhat damaged in the collision. He resumed play, and the Manor stands gave a cheer with "Gowdy, Gowdy, Gowdy!" on the end. Chapman called for Lee's speed, and Lee went around right end for eight yards. The stands howled for a first down. Chapman shot Proud, 264

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THE MONROE GAME the left half, at left guard. This brought another three-yard gain. But Manor had held on this second play, and the penalty set her back. Chapman gave the signal for a punt. The ball went to Monroe's forty-five-yard line. She was .fifteen yards better off than she was when the ball last came to her. Monroe's first play was a clever double pass. It brought .five yards. Then right half ripped two yards through the center. The drive off this play seemed to shake up the Monroe line. Once more Draper punted. The ball went to Manor's thirty-five-yard line. Chapman dodged back five yards. So far there had not been much to choose be tween the elevens. If anything, Manor felt en couraged because of her rather greater gain on running plays. Her growing confidence, how ever, soon found itself crushed. On the next play Prpud fumbled the ball; and a Monroe tackle, who had drilled his way through, got the leather on Manor's forty yards. "W-o-w !" shrieked the Monroe stands. A 265

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DANNY FISTS moment later the yell became a deep, throaty chant: "Put it over I Put it over I Put it over!" And Monroe started things with a rush. The first play brought five yards around right end. Then came a halfback plunge at Gowdy. Manor's right tackle was still shaken from that earlier col lision. The play brought six yards. Then the Monroe full hit the same spot for five yards. On the next play he tried to get through left guard, and was stopped. Draper, however, on a quarter back run, cleverly skirted the end for a first down. l'hings looked blue for the green and white. The stands were shrieking. From Monroe's sections came pleas for a score. From Manor's friends came a different plea-a plea to "Get that ball!" Once more the Monroe left half smashed into the injured Gowdy for a gain, this time five yards. Instantly he followed with a five-yard gaia around the right end. The ball was inside Manor's tenyard line I "Hold them, fellows I" Chapman begged. "Everybody hold!" 266

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THE MONROE GAME The line stiffened, and on the next play Mon roe failed to gain. Once more she tried. This. time it was a wide end run. But it was too wide, and the runner was forced back for a five-yard loss. It was Draper's chance to try a drop-kick. The teams lined up. Manor's friends clattered to their feet. "Block it!" they yelled. "Block it I" The ball shot back. Manor's right guard ripped his way through. He jumped high int' the air and thrust up both hands. The ball tipped his fingers, caromed off to one side, and missed the posts by five yards. Cheering broke out in the Manor stands. It had been a close call. Out beyond one of the side lines Danny felt his. heart settle into a steady, strong beat. That drop-kick had about scared him stiff. Manor put the ball in play with a scrimmage on the twenty-yard line. Talmage gained eight yards around the right end on a fake kick. Then Chapman gave the signal for a kick, and with that signal same a minute of blood-curdling anx iety for the green and white. 267

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DANNY FISTS For Talmage had a habit of trying to kick from too close to the line. Craig had worked hard to eradicate this football evil, but without complete success. Now Talmage took too close a stand. Craig, on the side line, groaned. Baggs sent the ball back straight and true. But Monroe's left tackle broke through the wobbling Gowdy. His jump blocked the kick. It shot sidewise. Lee raced for the ball, got it, and then lost it again. The stands yelled crazily. Chap man, in a wild mixup, shot for the ball and got it on his ten-yard line. The stands settled down. Talmage dropped back for another kick. This time he was far enough behind the line; but Gowdy was about through, and the Monroe left tackle went past ..... him as though he had been straw. Again the Monroe tackle blocked, the ball going off to the right; again there was delirium in the stands. This time Manor's right guard fell on the ball. Once more an almost sure touchdown by the enemy had been averted. The slaughter had gone far enough. Craig sent in Soffie, and Gowdy came tottering out. 268

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THE MONROE GAME Soffie held back the ambitious Monroe tackle, and on the next play Talmage got his kick away The ball went to Monroe's forty-five-yard line Twice the Manor line held. Then Draper kicked. Chapman caught the ball, and scooted back, amid frant'ic cheers, to his fifty-yard line. It was a pretty run. Two plays brought but four yards. Manor punted. The ends went down in good shape, and dropped the Monroe full on his own thirty-fiveyard line. On the next play the Monroe quarter fumbled the ball, and then fell on it to save it. Then Draper punted to Chapman, and the whistle for the end of the quarter sounded as Chapman was downed in the center of the field. During the minute intermission the players changed sides. Talmage drew Chapman away from the others. "Try a forward pass on them the first play," he advised. "They probably won't expect that, and it may come off." Chapman nodded "Sounds good, doesn't it? I'll work the one where our right end goes back and throws a diagonal to left end." 269

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DANNY FISTS "That's the stuff," said Talmage. The referee's whistle The teams lined up for the second quarter. Manor had the ball. Chapman barked his sig nal. Right end, who had shifted back a little at the same time that right half had slipped up, ran back on Baggs' pass, received the ball from Chapman, and leaned back just behind the fiveyard limit. From there he shot out a beautiful line pass to left end. It seemed for an instant that the play was certain to go. Manor's stands arose with a roar. The pass was a long one, the end was well down under it, and he seemed more likely to get the ball than the watchful Monroe back who had started down the field with the pass. It was a race between the two. The Monroe back was the faster. He leaped into the air, and intercepted the pass on his thirty-yard line. The Manor yells died. The play had been well executed, but the bril liant dash of the Monroe back had saved his colors. Monroe's attack failed to dent Manor's line. Draper once more punted. The Manor line had 270

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THE MONROE GAME forced Draper to hurry, and the ball went outside on the forty-five-yard mark. The teams lined up agam. Craig noticed that Chapman limped. And yet Chapman tried a quarterback run. He was too lame to bring it off, and was tackled out by the end. Instantly on the line-up he called for another forward pass. This time the ball shot off toward the right end. Here the play almost worked; for the ball reached the tips of the end's fingers, bounded off a little, and was caught by a Monroe back before it touched the ground. Even old 'Varsity men in the stands told one another that this was some game. Monroe gained two yards on a quarterback run of her own. A double pass that followed lost the two yards that had been gained. Once more Monroe called a punt to her aid. The kick was high and short. Chapman, coming in on it, failed to signal for a fair catch. As a result he was in a crowd of boys when he tried to m a ke the catch. He fumbled and Monroe regained the leather practically in midfield. "I doubt if Chapman can last out the quart e r 271

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DANNY FISTS Craig muttered. He motioned to Danny. "Studying the plays?" "Yes." Danny's body began to tremble with excitement. He wondered what he would be like when he actually got in the game. "Good I Keep your eyes open. I want you to know all you can when you start." Danny's heart skipped a beat. It was only a question of minutes now when he would be in the thick of things. Monroe tried the right end for three yards. Th_ en they tried Baggs, and Baggs was a stone wall. The ever-ready punt sailed away. The r.' kick went out on Manor's line. Once more Chapman tried his fake punt, and won thirteen yards. Then Proud was twice called for a dash on his own side of the center. Each time the Monroe line held him safe, and Talmage tried a kick. It seemed that neither side could form an attack that would be sufficiently sustained to score. Draper caught Talmage's punt on his own thirty-five-yard line. One disastrous plunge at Baggs was enough for Monroe. She elected to try Draper's foot. Draper 272

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THE MONROE GAME got off a wobbly offering this time, and Monroe lost eight yards on the exchange. Both elevens seemed weak and tired: Talmage gained one yard on a hard try. Then he punted, and got the ball off to Monroe's twenty yards. There the enemy took on a new lease of life. 'Right end was circled for four yards; a double pass brought eight more. Draper tried that weak right tackle hole, and Soffie let the runner get past him for five yards. The full skirted left tackle for another four yards, and a quarterback run brought another first down. Soffie, anxious, was allowing himself to get drawn in. The Monroe full found him for a fiveyard gain. Monroe had gone from her twenty yards to midfield on straight running plays. Right there, though, Manor came to life. On the next play Lee bolted through between guard and center. He caught the play behind the line for a loss of five yards. Draper kicked, and the ball went out of bounds on Manor's thirty-fiveyard line. That seemed to use Monroe up, and the half ended with the ball in Manor's posses sion in midfield. Thus far it was a no-score game. 273

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DANNY FISTS The teams rushed to the dressing-rooms. Danny was hot on the heels of Craig, and was with the d irty, sweaty boys as they piled into the room. Craig called a rubber. "Here, Joe I Get to work on Talmage's legs. The rest of you fellows lie flat on your backs and listen to me." Danny stretched off with the others. From this position saw Don Baggs' father come into the room. "You are putting up a good game on defense," said Craig. "I wouldn't ask for anything bet ter. But your attack hasn't enough speed. Another thing, just because those forward passes didn't work, don't be afraid to try. It's worth while taking a chance in a game like this where the other side isn't getting near enough to score. If you can pull a good long pass it will give you a fine start for a touchdown. "Now you, Soffle. They're making big gains through you. They made them over Gowdy be fore he was taken out, and now th. ey're making them over you. They draw you in. That's where you slip up. Don't let them fool you. Stay out 274

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THE MONROE GAME pretty wide, and then shoot in if you have to. That end is boxing you more than he has any business to. Get out your hand I Push him off l Keep clear of him I Don't let him get up close to you before the ball is snapped. Drive your play I Snap it into them I Play fast I Get them on the run and don't give them a chance to get set. "That's all, fellows. You know the importance of this game as well as I do. Just before you go out I'm going to have Mr. Baggs talk to you. Here, Joe I Let me know when we have three minutes left." Craig walked here and there among the boys, talking to them individually. Danny felt that the original plan would go through, and that he would start the half. His heart thumped at the thought of getting into the game. He tried to keep his mind steady; he tried to think of what plays he would use and of how he would use them. He couldn't think of plays. One thing only stuck in his mind. How would Baggs pass the ball? And then, with that thought, came another. Would he miss any of Draper's punts? 275

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DANNY FISTS Craig's voice came: "I want you fellows to listen to Mr. B a ggs for two minutes." The old Manor Hall warrior st ood a mong them. He didn't bluster, nor did he t alk w ith a roar, yet every word he said drove right home to the hearts of the boys. Danny felt something swell in his throat as he listened. "You fellows," said Mr. Baggs, "are fighting for Manor Hall. Here you have a chance to show that you can make good. Every now and then you get going, and then there's a slip. That's because each boy isn't doing his own little part to the best of his ability. You're not thinking. You're not setting your minds on the work the instant you hear the signal. You know it isn't the fault of the back if he doesn't gain ground. It's the line that must make the break for him. Snap those openings harder and fiercer I Charge your line back more I Don't let them get the jump on you! About every third down you fel lows are late. "Now for the back-field. You fellows must start quicker, and you must run harder. It's only 276

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THE MONROE GAME the fraction of a second whether you get past the tackle on a run outside, or whether he gets you. You tried several forward passes. The second should have gone. If the end-you, I mean-if you had run harder you'd have got the ball in your hands and not on the ends of your fingers. That would have meant a touchdown." The right end dropped his head. "I-I won't slip up again, Mr. Baggs," he promised. "That's the spirit," cried the man. "Let every fellow go out there feeling that he isn't going to make any of the mistakes he made the first half. Let evei:y fell ow do a little better than he did be fore. Then the game will go to Manor. And I want a cheer for Manor, fellows-a big cheer." He got it. Even before the echoes had died away the voice of Joe, the rubber, came to them: "Time's up!" "All out!" cried Craig. The team crowded through the door. Danny felt ah arm around his shoulders. He looked up. Craig walked beside him. "You are going in for Chapman," said the coach. "I want to see you clean up the work in 277

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DANNY FISTS good style. I want to see you drive that team as you can drive it. Make them work I Make them work hard and fast I It's a question of which team cracks first, and I want to see you keep our boys fighting." "I-I'll do my best," said Danny. With the exception of Danny, Manor's team: was the same as when she had finished the half. Monroe sent in a fresh left end. Draper still held his place, but so far he had not lived up to his reputation as a punter. Manor kicked to Monroe's twenty yards. Mon roe made two attempts to advance. Draper dropped back to punt. Here was Danny's first chance. His hands felt cold and clammy. He saw the ball sail up the field from Draper's foot; he felt a moment's tremor. Then, somehow, he felt perfectly con fident that he was going to catch the ball. He seemed to remember in detail all Mr. Baggs' instructions. He placed himself, without hurrying, under the dropping oval. It settled into his grasp as though muffs were things that he had never known.

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THE MONROE GAME The kick had out-distanced the pursuing ends. Danny ran the ball back ten yards before he was stopped. Remembering Lee's speed he worked the right half for his first play outside tackle. The ball came cleanly from Baggs. Danny took a quick step, shot the ball to Lee, and then flashed out himself as an interferer. The play earned six yards. Craig had ordered forward passes. Danny called for one. But the wind was with the ball, and it went too far. A Monroe half secured i-t I on his own thirty-yard line. Once more Monroe failed to gain. Draper's kick sailed down to Danny. This time the boy was thinking about the run back he had secured on the other kick, and was a bit anxious to get started. The result was almost a fumble. Danny's heart gave a frightened thump. Next time, he decided, he'd make sure first about catch ing the ball. Danny called on Lee, and Lee whisked around his own end for a (our-yard gain. Then Proud was sent around the other end. Exactly as he 279

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DANNY FISTS had done in the first half, he fumbled, and a Mon roe tackle dropped on the ball. But Monroe could not advance against the granite wall of the green and white, and the punt came down to Danny on his thirty-five yard line. This time he gave all his attention to the catch. Here Manor was found holding, and the pen alty brought her to her twenty yards. Danny, quick to realize that twice at this same stand Mon roe had blocked Talmage's punts, quickly called for a quarterback run. The play worked nicely. An opposing guard came through too soon and Danny went past Baggs. yards on he met the middle defense man. There he stopped. Instantly he signaled for a punt. The play was unexpected; and it got away with such speed that the ball went over the Monroe full's head. A Monroe back finally got it on his three-yard line. Monroe kicked without delay. It was Manor's ball on Monroe's forty-five-yard line. After that the period ran nip and tuck Manor would gain a bit; then Monroe would her 280

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THE MONROE GAME share. Occasional trick plays were tried, but none of them succeeded. The quarter ended with the ball in Manor's possession on Monroe's forty yards. Danny had driven the team fast, but thus far he had not been able to overcome Mon roe's sturdy defense. He thought, however, that he had found one or two weak spots, and he be lieved that he could still get up within scoring distance. Danny started the next period with a fake kick. Lee went around the end for ten yards. The ball was now on Monroe's thirty-yard line. Then, from the same formation, Danny tried a quarter back run of his own. The ball came back widely and he almost lost it, falling on it in the end to save it. Baggs retreated to the new scrimmage line. "I'm sorry," he whispered humbly. Danny forced a grin. "Accidents will hap pen," he chirped. "Lively, fellows. Line up l Line up I" He again called the signal for the kick for mation, and this time took another chance on a forward pass. This time the right end had his i81

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DANNY FISTS fighting blood up. He raced away and caught the ball, and went down on the ten-yard line. "Touchdown!'' Manor's stands roared. "Touch down I Touch down I" Danny thought that here was the place to win. He gave the signal that should have sent Proud, the left half, just outside of tackle. But Baggs' pass was again freakish. The ball came far to the left, and Danny almost pulled away from it by trying to get started. Proud, though, had started. Danny tried to pass him the ball, but the oval went behind him. A medley of yells and shouts came from the stands. Danny, almost with the pass, realized what had happened. He charged after that precious ball with savage vim, and fell on it. But the play had brought a ten-yard loss, and it was second down with twenty yards to go. Danny felt a momentary despair. But that, his better sense told him, was not the way to play the game. He. saw Baggs, and the big center looked as though he could have cried. The team lined up. He patted Baggs' broad back, and some 282

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THE MONROE GAME how he felt, from that moment, that Baggs was with him heart and soul. He called for a kick from placement. Talmage tried hard, but the ball missed the goal posts by inches. Monroe's friends cheered. M anor's chance to score was g
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DANNY FISTS As they lined up Danny leaned over Baggs. "Here's where we win or lose, Don," he whis pered. "Get them back clean and sure." Baggs' cheeks twitched. "You'll get 'em," he said. Danny dropped back into place. He gave the signal for a run around l eft tackle, which would bring the play further to that side of the field. The gain was but four yards, but the ball was where Danny w a nt e d it. He had fallen in the scrimmage and B a ggs had h e lped him to his feet. "Next play, Bag g s," he whispered. He ripped oui: the sig 9 al for a long forward pass. The ball came perfectly from the center. It was Manor's old play. Only this time left end came back, took the ball from Danny, and sent a long spiral pass sailing down the field. The stands turned lose yell that was without order or direction-just a yell. For it was plain that this play either won or left the game a tie. Right end down the field with hungry speed. Here was his chance to win his place in Manor hearts. But it looked as though he would 11ot be able to get under thd flying oval. 284

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THE MONROE GAME He was going at full speed when the ball was half-way down. Turning slightly he saw where it was going. His speed seemed to increase. The Monroe back was not near enough to make trouble. The end ran desperately. Then the stands saw him reach up and out with a frantic clutch. The ball was in his hands I There was riot in the stands. The end seemed about to fall. He staggered a step or two, and regained his balance. The Monroe back was coming up fast, but the end lowered his head and raced down the field and across the line I With less than a minute to play the game was practically over. Monroe's adherents sank gloom ily into their seats. Out on the field Talmage hugged Danny, and Baggs grinned with honest Joy. Craig, on the side line, chuckled softly. From the stands came a mad "Watch them fight! Watch them fight! Watch them fight I Green and white! Green and white! Green and white! Manor, Manor, Manor, Manor, Manor! Hall, Hall, Hall!"

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DANNY FISTS r Talmage kicked an easy goal. A minute later the final whistle blew Manor cheered Monroe; Monroe cheere'd Manor. The teams started from the field. Danny felt something touch his arm. "If-if you care to shake hands--" Baggs began clumsily. That was something that Danny wanted badly. Their hands gripped. "Didn't we give 'em a fight?" gasped the quar ter. "I guess we did," said Baggs proudly. Craig, bringing up the rear, saw it all. in the stands wondered to see him toss his cap into the air and kick it merrily as it came down. (I) TH! END


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